Carolina Hurricanes Upend Boston Bruins 3-2 in Overtime in Game 7

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Associated Press
Friday, May 15, 2009

BOSTON, May 14 -- Scott Walker scored his first NHL playoff goal 18 minutes 46 seconds into overtime to send the sixth-seeded 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 in the Eastern Conference 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.

"I just went to the net and whacked one in," Walker said. "Didn't take much skill."

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. 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.

"Just because we won these series doesn't mean we are going to change our approach against Pittsburgh," Carolina Coach Paul Maurice said. "If we try to trade goals with them, it will be a short series."

Cam Ward, the MVP of the 2006 playoffs when the Hurricanes hoisted the Stanley Cup, has won all six of his playoff series -- the past four going seven games.

Boston fell to 0-21 in series in which it fell behind 3-1, with only two going seven games.

Bitz, a rookie forward, gave Boston the lead with his first playoff goal.

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.

Samsonov scored from Thomas's right by redirecting a pass across the slot from Joni Pitkanen. Then Lucic tied it when he skated behind the defense and into an open spot at the edge of the crease.

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