The Boston Bruins clinched their Eastern Conference first round match-up against the Carolina Hurricanes in game five, winning 2-1 in an afternoon game Wednesday.
Patrice Bergeron broke a tie with 3.5 seconds left in the second period, David Pastrnak returned with two assists and the Boston Bruins beat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 on Wednesday to win the first-round playoff series in five games.
The Bruins trailed 1-0 entering the final 5 minutes of the second period before scoring twice on the power play, first from David Krejci with 4:40 left after Bergeron drew a penalty on a breakaway chance.
Then came Bergeron's score as the teams appeared headed to the second intermission tied at 1. He tracked down a loose rebound from Pastrnak that hit the boards, then quickly sent the puck back toward the net from the left side.
The puck slipped under a standing Petr Mrazek, bounced off his left skate and straight into the net for the 2-1 lead.
Bergeron and Krejci also had an assist each for the Bruins, while Pastrnak's return to the lineup also provided a boost. The NHL's co-leader with 48 regular-season goals hadn't played since the fourth-seeded Bruins won Game 1 in double overtime and was a gametime decision for this one.
The fifth-seeded Hurricanes were trying to regroup from the Bruins' dominating third-period performance to rally from 2-0 down and win Game 4 on Monday night. They responded by taking a first-period lead on Haydn Fleury's goal, but they didn't score again as the Bruins gradually climbed past them.
Mrazek had 25 saves for the Hurricanes, including a pair of stops on 1-on-1 chances for Pastrnak before the Bruins finally broke through on the way to eliminating Carolina for a second straight season.
The Bruins entered the postseason as the Presidents' Trophy winner with a league-best 100 regular-season points, only to go 0-3 in the round-robin series to determine the top four seeds in the Eastern Conference playoffs. But Boston has now won three straight since losing Game 2.
Jaroslav Halak had 23 saves for Boston, which swept Carolina in the Eastern Conference finals last season.