NHL Game Summary - Carolina at Boston
(Saturday, April 10th)
Final Score: Boston 4, Carolina 2
Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Daniel Paille, Blake Wheeler and Steve Begin tallied during an NHL-record short-handed burst early in the second period, helping Boston clinch a playoff berth with a 4-2 win over Carolina at TD Garden.
Milan Lucic scored in the final minute for the Bruins, who posted their third win in four games and clinched the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference with 89 points, after Montreal lost in overtime to Toronto later Saturday.
Tuukka Rask made 33 saves for Boston, which has scored the fewest goals of any playoff-bound team in the NHL (202) and concludes its regular season at Washington on Sunday.
"I think this year we really battled hard and we were hardly .500 and then obviously, we ran into a mix of inconsistency and missing guys from the lineup due to injuries and pretty much, the whole season was like that," said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. "We were playing parts of the season really well and then some parts not so well and that's what happens. We were basically battling it out until game 81."
Erik Cole and Pat Dwyer scored for the Hurricanes (35-37-10), who closed out the season with a loss after winning four of their previous six.
Cam Ward played well in defeat, stopping 38-of-41 shots.
After a scoreless opening period, Boston jumped to the lead by scoring an NHL- record three times on the same Carolina power play early in the second period.
Paille gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead at the 32-second mark when he snaked to the front of the net, cut across the crease from right to left, and beat Ward to the short side.
Wheeler doubled the advantage 49 seconds later when he one-timed a feed by David Krejci, then Begin finished off a 2-on-1 rush by beating Ward through the pads at 1:36.
The three strikes in a 1:04 span proved to be the fastest three goals by a team playing one man down in league history, and was also the first time in NHL annals that three were scored during one minor penalty.
"I have never seen that, things got away from us there on our back end and you saw some unusual decisions," said Carolina head coach Paul Maurice of the record sequence against his young club. "Quite frankly I'm surprised we didn't see more things similar to that the last month and a half with those young guys. And then it's hard for them to recover and get back mentally and shake it off to get back in the game."
Cole finally put the visitors on the board with 5 1/2 to play in the second, then a wrister under the crossbar with 2:54 left by Dwyer made it a one-goal game.
The Bruins' Patrice Bergeron had a potential fourth goal wiped out a little more than a minute later due to a quick whistle on a power-play chance.
He followed up that misfortune by preventing a fluke goal early in the third on a delayed penalty call when one of his teammates threw a pass off the boards that caromed within an inch of the goal line of the vacated net.
"I don't think I would have caught it. I had to keep going, the puck actually took some speed I think," Bergeron said when asked if he could have dived to stop the puck. "It was going pretty fast there and as soon as I turned around I realized it was probably going to go in. It was going right for the net so I started going as fast as I could."
Ward went to the bench for an extra skater with 1:22 to play and Lucic sealed the victory with an empty-netter 22 seconds later.
Boston won three of four against Carolina this season and have taken seven of the last eight meetings...The Bruins last had three short-handed goals in one game on March 27, 1994 at Washington...The three goals in a 64-second span were the fastest for Boston since a three-goal burst in 52 seconds on December 20, 2001 against Montreal...Steve Kasper was the last Bruin to score twice on the same penalty, on January 9, 1985 at Toronto...Carolina forward Rod Brind'Amour, who may have closed out a 20-year NHL career, did not dress due to an unknown reason...Ward finished the year at 18-23-5...The Bruins made the postseason for the third consecutive year and for the sixth time in eight seasons...The Hurricanes missed the postseason one year after advancing to the Eastern Conference finals, which included a seven-game triumph over top-seeded Boston in the conference semis.
04/10 22:08:26 ET