Bruins clinch playoff spot with win

Share This Story



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.
Boston Bruins (AP)

Blake Wheeler, left, celebrates his goal -- one of three the Bruins scored in a 64-second stretch of short-handed play.Michael Dwyer

"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 moved into sixth place, two ahead of Montreal and three ahead of the Rangers and Flyers with one game to play. Either New York, Philadelphia or the Canadiens will miss 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.
Tagged: Bruins, Hurricanes, Steve Begin, Cam Ward, Daniel Paille, Matt Hunwick, Blake Wheeler

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

Play Hockey Simulation Game on WhatIfSports

NHL Videos

Toews, Kane: Easy decision to resign with Blackhawks Posted: Jul 17, 2014
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane say their decision to sign matching 8-year, $84M...

LA mayor 'F-bombs' Kings rally Posted: Jun 17, 2014
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti toasts the Stanley Cup champion Kings in front o...

Kings, fans celebrate Stanley Cup Posted: Jun 16, 2014
Kings players celebrate winning the Stanley Cup with a parade through downtown L...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Pittsburgh_Penguins/browse/featuredproduct/175178/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_175000/FF_175178_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black
    Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Dallas_Stars/browse/featuredproduct/243363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_243000/FF_243363_xl.jpg&w=100 124.95 Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey
    Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Tampa_Bay_Lightning/browse/featuredproduct/301017/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_301000/ff_301017_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Anaheim_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/398322/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_398000/FF_398322_xl.jpg&w=100 43.99 Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Red_Wings/browse/featuredproduct/403205/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_403000/FF_403205_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack
    Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Chicago_Blackhawks/browse/featuredproduct/408123/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_408000/FF_408123_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey
    Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_Jersey_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/456774/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_456000/ff_456774_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Vancouver_Canucks/browse/featuredproduct/665779/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_665000/ff_665779_xl.jpg&w=100 11.95 Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick
    Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Islanders/browse/featuredproduct/752594/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_752000/ff_752594_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt