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NHL PLAYOFFS

Scott Walker's goal sends Hurricanes into Eastern finals

Carolina defeats Boston, 3-2, in overtime.

May 15, 2009|Associated Press

BOSTON — 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 top-seeded 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 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.

Carolina finished the regular season on a roll and captured the No. 6 seeding 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, the MVP of the 2006 playoffs when the Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup, has won all six of his playoff series -- 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 Ducks on Thursday night.

Boston was trying to accomplish what no other Bruins club has done -- 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.

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