BOSTON — The Bruins left TD Garden with one point Tuesday night but were unable to claim a much-needed second as they fell to the Carolina Hurricanes in a shootout in their third-to-last game of the regular season.
Boston College product and Norwood, Mass., native Noah Hanifin provided the clincher for the visitors, beating Tuukka Rask in the fifth round of the shootout to hand his hometown team a 2-1 loss.
The Bruins remain alive in the Eastern Conference playoff race but no longer control their own destiny.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Cam Ward stonewalled a fifth consecutive Bruins shooter during the 1-on-1 competition, and Hanifin deposited the game-winner past Rask.
Ward finished with 35 saves for Carolina, with his best of the night coming against Loui Eriksson in overtime.
CHARA GETS THE POINT
Carolina nearly took the lead with less than two minutes remaining in regulation when a shot trickled between the legs of goalie Tuukka Rask. But defenseman Zdeno Chara was there to swat the puck safely away just before it could cross the goal line, assuring Boston would leave the game with at least one point.
GETTING THE BAND BACK TOGETHER
Defensemen Kevan Miller and Colin Miller both returned (from injury and Providence, respectively) to the Bruins’ lineup, and winger Jimmy Hayes did, as well.
Hayes, who sat out both games of the Bruins’ trip through St. Louis and Chicago, got into it early with Hurricanes forward Brad Malone, dropping the gloves just six minutes after puck drop. It was just Hayes’ second fight of the season, and Malone, who’s scrapped nine times, dropped him to the ice with relative ease.
The most important play of Colin Miller’s night came in overtime, when he was called for embellishment after being tripped to the ice by Hurricanes center Jordan Staal. Both players were penalized on the play, negating a potential Bruins power play.
SLAVIN KICK-STARTS CANES
The Bruins failed to score on two first-period power plays and gave up the game’s first goal with just 66 seconds remaining in the opening frame. Jaccob Slavin did the honors for Carolina, putting a wobbling shot from the point past Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask for his first goal since Dec. 8.
Rask otherwise played well in the first period, but Slavin’s tally allowed the visitors to take a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
The Bruins failed to get on the board in the second, either, outshooting the Hurricanes 16-9 but failing to beat Ward. The scoreless frame included another fruitless B’s power play as Boston dialed up the desperation but came away with nothing to show for it.
The period ended with Eriksson picking up his second minor penalty in 10 minutes. The B’s winger entered the game with a mere eight penalty minutes on his record this season and had not been sent the box multiple times in any of his first 79 contests.
ALL IS FORGIVEN
Eriksson wasted no time in atoning for his two miscues when he emerged from the sin bin early in the third period. He potted Boston’s first goal of the night just 14 seconds after his second penalty expired.
Former Hurricanes defenseman John-Michael Liles assisted on the tally, and so too did several current Canes players, as Eriksson’s 29th goal of the season came in the midst of an atrocious Carolina line change.
The Bruins host the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night in a game that, for all intents and purposes, will decide their season. Before that, though, the B’s will have their eyes glued to Wednesday night’s tilt between the Red Wings and another playoff bubble team, the Philadelphia Flyers.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images