BOSTON — You don’t often see the three stars in an NHL game all come from the same line.
But the way center David Krejci’s line dominated Saturday’s 5-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, the Boston Bruins’ eighth straight, there really was no other choice, as the line continued its torrid run.
Left winger Milan Lucic: goal, two assists.
Center Krejci: three assists.
Right winger Jarome Iginla: two goals.
“It’s fun,” Iginla said after scoring his 22nd and 23rd goals of the season. “I have been very fortunate to play with some great players and some great passers (throughout his long career) and guys that do some unique things.
“Kraych and Looch, it’s been fun playing with them all year. They have a great chemistry with each other and they have been great to join.”
Backup goaltender Chad Johnson remained perfect at home, moving to 8-0 with 29 saves as the Eastern Conference leaders completed a three-game season sweep of the Hurricanes.
The winning streak is the longest for Boston since a 10-game run from Nov. 1-23, 2011. The Bruins have outscored their opposition, 32-12, during this streak.
The top line did most of the scoring damage.
“We’re doing a good job of supporting each other, using our speed and our strength,” Lucic said. “When we get forechecking it tends to turn pucks over and give us some zone time and we’re able to create some chances. It just feels like everything’s clicking for our line right now.”
And for Johnson, too, who has yielded only 12 goals in eight home games. In fact, he has never lost an NHL home game in regulation, and is 10-0-1 on home ice for the Bruins, Phoenix Coyotes and New York Rangers.
Johnson, 8-0-1 in his last nine starts and 14-3-1 overall this season, had a shutout until right winger Alexander Semin cut the Carolina deficit in half, with his 19th goal, at 3:53 of the third period.
But the Bruins came right back.
Krejci set up left winger Chris Kelly for his seventh of the season, as the Bruins were making a line change.
Iginla scored 13 seconds later to make it 4-1.
Rookie defenseman Torey Krug tacked one on in the closing seconds, his 14th goal of the season.
The three points gave Krejci 23 in the last 21 games, while Lucic, who scored his 21st, has 20 points in the last 18 games, and Iginla has 24, including 10 goals, in 18.
The line has 47 points in the last 14 games. The threesome totaled nine shots on goal and seven hits, five by Lucic.
Semin’s goal actually went in on a deflection by Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk, who left the game later in the period because of a right leg injury.
Boychuk fell awkwardly into the boards after a tap on the knee by Carolina right winger Patrick Dwyer, but returned and promptly blocked a shot with the same leg, hobbling off again.
After the game, he said he was fine.
Ward made 36 saves for Carolina, which had its modest two-game winning streak stopped.
“You know what, they’re a good hockey team, they’re physical,” Carolina coach Kirk Muller said. “It was disappointing for us because we’ve been playing pretty good hockey recently.
“Usually, as the game goes on we get stronger and stronger, but I don’t think we pushed back well enough tonight after they came out hard in the first. They set the tone, and I don’t think we really responded, even though the game was a 2-1 game, for the most part.”
The Bruins dominated the first period but came out of it with only one goal.
Krejci, while falling thanks to a trip by center Eric Staal that was going to be called, got the puck to Lucic at 15:28. Lucic said after the game Krejci told him he was trying to shoot but the trip caused him to lose the puck, and sent it right to Lucic.
NOTES: Bruins C Gregory Campbell had the 100th assist of his career. … RW Matt Lindblad made his NHL debut for the Bruins, who also got LW Daniel Paille back after a two-game absence because of his second concussion of the season. Lindblad, the seventh player to make his NHL debut with the Bruins this season, had seven goals and 22 points in 43 games at Providence. … The additions to the lineup left LW Jordan Caron and RW Shawn Thornton as healthy scratches, while D Andrej Meszaros and D Corey Potter also sat. Potter has yet to play for his new team. … D Justin Faulk returned to the Carolina lineup after missing five games because of an upper body injury. … The Hurricanes host the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday, while the Bruins have the Minnesota Wild in Boston on Monday night.