Bruins 4, Hurricanes 2

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 after watching as the Bruins scored three

short-handed goals in 64 seconds to beat the Carolina Hurricanes

4-2 on Saturday and clinch a playoff berth.

“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 by Wheeler 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. …

C.J. Young, who played 43 games in the NHL in 1992-93 and was a

teammate of Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli at Harvard,

scored three short-handed goals in a 49-second span against

Dartmouth on Dec. 12. 1988.