Carolina at Boston

Bruins clinch playoff berth behind flurry of short-handed goals

CBSSports.com wire reports
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BOSTON -- Matt Hunwick had one request for his Bruins teammates before heading back to the penalty box at the start of the second period.

"I said, "Hey, boys. Kill this one for me,"' the Boston defenseman said Saturday after watching as the Bruins scored three short-handed goals in 64 seconds to beat the Carolina Hurricanes and clinch a playoff berth.

Eastern Conference
SeedTeamGPPTSROW
1z-Pittsburgh487233
2y-Montreal486326
3y-Washington485724
4x-Boston486224
5x-Toronto485726
6x-N.Y. Rangers485622
7x-Ottawa485621
8x-N.Y. Islanders485520
Eliminated
9o-Winnipeg485122
10o-Philadelphia484922
11o-New Jersey484817
12o-Buffalo484814
13o-Carolina484218
14o-Tampa Bay484017
15o-Florida483612
Complete Playoff Race

"That was crazy," Hunwick said. "You never want to take penalties, but they responded great. You'd like to be out there and be a part of it."

With 89 points, the Bruins secured the No. 6 in the Eastern Conference playoffs after the Montreal Canadiens lost in overtime to Toronto on Saturday night. Boston will face New Jersey or Buffalo in the first round of the playoffs.

"We knew it was going to be a dogfight to the end," forward Blake Wheeler said. "We've had the mentality that it's been a playoff game pretty much here for the last few weeks. And I think we really thrived under that sort of mentality and been playing some pretty good hockey lately."

The Bruins fired 18 shots at Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward in the first period, but they went into the break tied 0-0 and down a man, thanks to Hunwick's hooking penalty with 18 seconds left in the first.

When they came out for the second, Daniel Paille, Wheeler and Steve Begin scored to make it 3-0, forcing Carolina coach Paul Maurice to call a timeout to settle his team down.

It was the first time in NHL history that a team has scored three times while short-handed on the same penalty, the Bruins said. The Winnipeg Jets scored four short-handed goals against Vancouver on April 7, 1995, the only time a team has scored more than three in a game since 1964-65.

"We made the book," Begin said with a laugh. "I heard they're going to put us on the power play now."

Oddly, the Bruins haven't scored with a man-advantage in their last 22 tries over seven games. They had just three short-handed goals all season before Saturday.

"Things got away from us on our back end, and then you saw some unusual decisions," Maurice said. "Quite frankly, I'm surprised we haven't seen that a lot more. We had a lot of young guys back there."

Milan Lucic added an empty-netter with a minute left, and Tuukka Rask stopped 33 shots for Boston.

Ward made 38 saves for the Hurricanes, who ended their season without making the playoffs one year after reaching the Eastern Conference finals. Carolina knocked the Bruins out of the postseason in the conference semifinals last year with an overtime victory in Game 7 in Boston.

"It's kind of how things went this year," forward Erik Cole said. "It's kind of disappointing."

Bruins fans rose to their feet and waved yellow towels for the final 30 seconds, cheering for the team that had come into the season with high expectations before being cut down by injuries. A year after finishing first in the East -- and getting eliminated in the second round by Carolina -- the Bruins had to scrape for the final month to even make the playoffs.

They came through, winning four of their last six games.

"We want to finish as high as possible," said Bruins coach Claude Julien, whose team ends the regular season in Washington on Sunday. "People will remember us as a team for how we finish, not how we start."

Needing only one more point -- an overtime loss would have done it -- the Bruins broke out to snap a scoreless tie after Hunwick was sent off.

Paille chased the puck down in the Hurricanes' end and brought it across the goal mouth before shooting back and into the net, between Ward's legs. Thirty-nine seconds later, Wheeler scored from the slot. And then off the ensuing faceoff Dennis Wideman made a long pass to Begin, who put in a wrist shot from the left circle.

Carolina came back when Cole scored on a wraparound with 5:30 left in the second period. Patrick Dwyer made it a one-goal game on a wrist shot from the slot 2:36 later.

Boston had an apparent power-play goal waved off with 1:20 left in the second when the referee blew the whistle early on a loose puck.

But none of that was the strangest part of the game.

About three minutes into the third period, the Bruins had the puck in the Hurricanes' zone when a delayed penalty was called and they pulled Rask. But an errant pass came out of the zone, bounced off the boards at center ice and headed toward the empty net.

Patrice Bergeron, who was the extra skater when the goalie was pulled, turned and raced after it, swiping it off the goal line to avert an empty-net own goal that would have tied it 3-3.

"It was going right for the net, so I started going as fast as I could," he said. "There's the 'Not top 10 plays' on ESPN, and I just didn't want to be on there."

Notes

  • Begin's goal was his 100th career point.
  • This was the first time the Bruins have had two short-handed goals on the same penalty since Steve Kasper scored two in Toronto on Jan. 9, 1985.
  • Carolina finished the season 35-37-10. But the team that opened the season 2-12-4 had the second-most points in the conference since midseason.
  • Paille's goal was his first in 22 days.
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Blake Wheeler scores as Boston erupts for three short-handed goals in a 64-second span in the second. (AP)
Blake Wheeler scores as Boston erupts for three short-handed goals in a 64-second span in the second. (AP)
Scoreboard
Carolina (35-37-10)0202
Boston  (38-30-13) «0314
Three Stars
Z. Chara
BOS


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 1
P. Bergeron
BOS


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 0
D. Paille
BOS


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1

Related Video

Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
None
2ND PERIOD
32.0Short - Daniel Paille (10), Wrist Shot. Assist: Chara, Boychuk
01:21Short - Blake Wheeler (18), Snap Shot. Assist: Krejci
01:36Short - Steve Begin (5), Wrist Shot. Assist: Wideman, Paille
14:30Erik Cole (11), Wrap Shot. Assist: Dwyer, LaRose
17:06Patrick Dwyer (7), Snap Shot. Assist: Samson, Rodney
3RD PERIOD
19:00Milan Lucic (9), Empty Net, Unassisted.
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
01:39Bowman, 2 min, Slashing
06:16LaRose, 2 min, Tripping
08:51McQuaid, 2 min, Hooking
19:42Hunwick, 2 min, Hooking
2ND PERIOD
12:18Lucic, 2 min, Tripping
17:20Staal, 2 min, Slashing
3RD PERIOD
02:55Samson, 2 min, High-Sticking
04:59Carson, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
11:14Hunwick, 2 min, Holding the Stick
Shots On Goal
 123T
Carolina1413835
Boston1818642
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Cam Ward59:40383
Tuukka Rask59:52332
Game Information
Attendance - 17565
Referees - Marc Joannette, Chris Lee
Linesmen - Pierre Champoux, Michel Cormier
 
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