NHL Playoffs: Hurricanes 3, Bruins 2
Associated PressBOSTON ó Scott Walker scored his first NHL playoff goal 18:46 into overtime to send the Carolina Hurricanes into the Eastern Conference finals with a 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.
Byron Bitz gave Boston a 1-0 lead at 7:42 of the first period, and Carolina captain Rod Brind’Amour tied it six minutes later. Sergei Samsonov put the Hurricanes ahead 2-1 at 7:45 of the second period, but Milan Lucic tied it for the Bruins at 6:19 of the third.
Carolina will face the Pittsburgh Penguins, who beat the Washington Capitals in Game 7 of that series on Wednesday, in the East finals.
Walker scored his first goal in 25 career NHL playoff games on a rebound of a shot by Ray Whitney from the right circle. Tim Thomas made the save but couldn’t recover in time to stop Walker from batting the puck out of the air and over him.
Walker had been fined $25,000 after punching defenseman Aaron Ward in the face with his right fist late in Boston’s win in Game 5. The Bruins said Walker should have been suspended for punching Ward, who hadn’t taken off his gloves.
Carolina finished the regular season on a roll and captured the No. 6 seed in the East. The Hurricanes upset New Jersey in the first round by winning the last two games, including scoring the tying and winning goals in the final 80 seconds of Game 7.
Ward has won all six of his six playoff series ó the last four going seven games.
With the top-seeded Bruins eliminated, the three highest seeded teams in the East and two of the top three in the West are out of the playoffs. Only Detroit, seeded second in the West, moved on with a 4-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night.
Boston was trying to accomplish what no other Bruins club has done ó win a series it trailed 3-1. They are now 0-21 in those series, with only two going seven games. The other came last year in the first round against the Montreal Canadiens.
Bitz, a rookie forward, gave Boston the first lead with his first playoff goal. Michael Ryder’s shot from the left point hit the back wall and rebounded to the right of goalie Cam Ward. Bitz swopped in and scored into the empty side of the net to Ward’s left.
Brind’Amour tied it exactly two minutes after a penalty to Boston’s P.J. Axelsson, who was about to leave the box when the goal was scored. Dennis Seidenberg took a shot from 45 feet directly in front of Thomas and Brind’Amour deflected it in.
Red Wings 4, Ducks 3
DETROIT ó Dan Cleary’s tiebreaking goal with 3 minutes left lifted the Detroit Red Wings to a 4-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night and sent the defending Stanley Cup champions to the Western Conference finals for the third straight year.
Chris Osgood stopped 24 shots for the defending champions, who couldn’t protect an early two-goal lead.
Jiri Hudler, Darren Helm and Mikael Samuelsson scored for the Red Wings, who will next face the Chicago Blackhawks in a matchup of Original Six teams.