RALEIGH, N.C. — David Pastrnak scored with 37 seconds left in overtime and Tuukka Rask returned in net to stop 30 shots as the Boston Bruins defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 Sunday and inch closer to the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
Boston (38-25-13) was 1-3-3 in its previous seven games, allowing Ottawa back into the chase over the last few weeks for the final spot in the Eastern Conference Wild Card playoff spot. However, the Senators lost to Florida and now trail the Bruins, who have six games left, by three points. Ottawa does have one game in hand.
Boston ended regulation on the power play when Carolina defenseman Ron Hainsey broke his stick on a shot and then threw the broken piece at the puck, hitting it for a minor penalty. But the Bruins didn’t register a shot and the game went into overtime — Boston’s 25th extra period of the season.
Rask returned to net for the Bruins after taking himself out of Saturday’s 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers early in the second period after suffering from dehydration, while Pastrnak scored his 10th of the season from the slot for his third game winner of the season.
Carolina center Jeff Skinner and defenseman Justin Faulk hit posts in the opening 10:08 of the third period as the score remained 1-1.
It appeared Rask and the Bruins would take a 1-0 lead into the third as neither team was producing much offensively in a slow-paced game. However, the Hurricanes broke out of their zone on an odd-man rush late in the second and were able to break through to tie it at 1-1.
Left wing Nathan Gerbe took a pass from right wing Chris Terry on a 2-on-1 with a delayed penalty against the Bruins behind the play and beat the Boston goalie with 21.3 seconds left. It was Gerbe’s first goal in 15 games and just his second in 22 career games against the Bruins.
Boston wasted little jumping on the Hurricanes 2:21 into the game as center Ryan Spooner, with 15 points in 18 games since being recalled from the minors in mid February, scored his seventh of the season between the legs of former Boston goalie Anton Khudobin.
NOTES: Boston D Dougie Hamilton missed his fourth straight game with an undisclosed injury … LW Nathan Gerbe has now recorded 200 or more shots in each of his two seasons with Carolina. … The Hurricanes are one of three teams (Pittsburgh and St. Louis) ranked in the top 10 in the league both on the power play and shorthanded. … Carolina C Jordan Staal played in his 600th career game. Older brother and teammate LW Eric Staal logged game No. 839 while Rangers D Marc Staal played in his 535th Sunday, meaning the brothers are 26 shy of 2,000 combined games of NHL experience. … Boston is now 15-6-2 against Metropolitan Division teams.