The bad news for Carolina was that defenseman Bret Hedican left with a sprained knee in the second period and didn't return. The Hurricanes said after the game that Hedican is expected to be out up to two weeks.
Hedican got his skate tangled with Boston forward Chuck Kobasew's with 8:37 remaining in the period, causing his right leg to awkwardly turn. He writhed in pain before being helped off the ice.
But the injuries won't change Carolina's style of play.
"There's really only one way to win and that's to play the game hard," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said. "We talked about that this morning -- hard work is determining wins and losses. It's almost that simple. And I thought we worked hard tonight."
Mike Commodore and Rod Brind'Amour had Carolina's other goals to get the first consecutive home game wins for the Hurricanes since early November.
"I'm disappointed that we lost," Kessel said. "It's a tough situation. Hopefully we can play better the next game. We're not happy but we've got a game tomorrow. We've got to regroup and try to get a win."
After being pulled down by Boston's Dennis Wideman on a breakaway, LaRose went to his backhand on the penalty shot, lifting the puck over Tim Thomas. It was only the second shorthanded penalty-shot goal in the NHL this season.
"I went to the bench and I asked [assistant coach] Jeff Daniels 'What do you think?'" LaRose said. "He said, 'Go to your butter,' and that's my move to my backhand."
Thomas made 33 saves in his third game back from a groin injury. The Hurricanes outshot the Bruins 37-21.
"I wish I could have let in a couple less because we need wins no matter how we get them," Thomas said.
That Staal's game-winner came on the power play was something of a surprise -- Carolina had scored on only three of its last 40 chances with the man advantage.
With Boston's Vladimir Sobotka in the penalty box for delay of game, Staal collected the puck in front of Thomas, made a quick move to get the goalie out of position and then backhanded the puck into the net to give the Hurricanes a two-goal edge.
"I think we were keeping it more simple, just working it on the backhand and looking for shots," Staal said.
Kessel converted a centering pass by Milan Lucic 10 seconds later to bring Boston within one, but the Bruins couldn't get the equalizer, squandering Commodore's holding penalty late in the game.
Kessel came close, ringing a shot off the post.
Carolina sent center Brandon Nolan back to Albany earlier on Friday. ... Boston right winger Brandon Bochenski hit the post with a slap shot early in the game. ... Staal extended his point streak to six games. ... Andrew Ladd played with a face shield that college players normally wear after breaking a bone underneath his left eye in a fight with the New York Rangers' Sean Avery on Wednesday night. ... After going its first 37 games without a shorthanded goal, the Hurricanes have scored one in consecutive games.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: PNC Arena Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Referees: Stephane Auger, Dan Marouelli Linesmen: Scott Driscoll, Tim Nowak
Attendance: 18,680 (99.7% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Rod Brind'Amour (15)
Assists: Niclas Wallin, Cory Stillman
Chuck Kobasew (14)
(Shorthanded) Assist: Marc Savard
Mike Commodore (1)
Assist: Eric Staal
Chad LaRose (5)
(Shorthanded) (Penalty Shot) Unassisted
P.J. Axelsson (7)
Assist: Marc Savard
Eric Staal (19)
(Power Play) Assists: Andrew Ladd, Ray Whitney