RALEIGH, NC - JANUARY 14: Justin Faulk #28 celebrates a game-tying goal with teammate Tim Brent #37 of the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period against the Boston Bruins at the RBC Center on January 14, 2012 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Hurricanes won 4-2. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
For the fourth and last time of this season, the Bruins and Hurricanes met. And for the fourth time the Canes, last place in the Eastern Conference with a goal differential 107 goals less than the Bruins', defeated the defending Stanley Cup Champs, this time by a 3-0 score at the Garden. It was the first time in franchise history, which includes the Whale years, that the Canes/Whalers swept the season series from the Bruins.
The Bruins outshot Carolina 22-8 in the first period, but as was the case in the previous three games Canes goalie Cam Ward stood on his head and withstood the Bruins attack. Carolina opportunistically took the lead 11:51 into the game on a pretty cross-crease feed from Jiri Tlusty to Eric Staal, who fired a one-timer past Tuukka Rask.
Carolina has tortured the Bruins' defensemen in recent years with intense forechecking, and turned up the heat in the second. Tuomu Ruutu made it 2-0 16:41 into the second period. After an Andrew Ference turnover, Rask stopped Brandon Sutter but could not stop Ruutu on the rebound.
The Bruins couldn't find another two-goal third period comeback. Sutter made it 3-0 3:13 into the third period after Rask's pass up the boards was picked by Andreas Nodl, who fed Sutter for a top-shelf snipe. The Bruins had chances to climb back into the game, but were done in by some undisciplined play. Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand both took bad penalties while the Bs were on the power play. Ward stopped anything the Bruins threw his way for the shutout.
I got the Carolina feed from the site I used since it was an NHL Network game, so I didn't get to hear if Jack and Brick had any explanations for the Canes' success against the Bruins. Did they offer any? Personally I think it's a combo of great goaltending, an aggressive forecheck that the Bruins can't seem to handle, and an ability to get under the Bruins' skin and throw them off their game. Any other ideas?
Let's just say this: Thank God Carolina is in last.