2012-02-03 / Sports

’Canes sweep Bruins

BOSTON (AP) — Sweeping the defending Stanley Cup champions is nice, but the Carolina Hurricanes would trade all four wins for a better spot in the standings.

Cam Ward made 47 saves — 22 in the first period and 20 in the third — Brandon Sutter had a goal and an assist, and the Hurricanes finished their first season sweep of the Bruins with a 3- 0 victory on Thursday night.

“It feels good to beat them four times, but I would rather be first in the conference and lose to the last- place team four times,” said captain Eric Staal, who had a goal in this win.

Not only isn’t Carolina on top of the Eastern Conference, the Hurricanes are stuck at the bottom. They are 15-25-9 against the rest of the NHL, but outscored Boston 14-5 in the season sweep.

This franchise had never pulled that off, even back when it was the Hartford Whalers.

Brandon Sutter had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes, who scored in each period.

Staal netted a goal in the first, Tuomo Ruutu converted Sutter’s rebound in the second, and Sutter added a goal 3:13 into the third.

Ward, 11- 11- 2 against the Bruins, posted his third shutout of the season and 19th of his NHL career — including three over Boston.

Despite the high number of shots, the Bruins, just 4-4-1 in their last nine games after winning 25 of the previous 30, had few quality scoring chances.

They were booed by the home crowd.

“We had a lot of shots, but we let him see the puck pretty well and then didn’t go to the net too hard at times and let him get those easy shots,” said Tuukka Rask, who played well in making 28 saves, but lost his third straight start. “I mean . tough game.”

Rask did all he could to keep the Bruins in it, but they were blanked for the third time this season — all at home. Boston lost in regulation for the third time in 20 home games and second in the past 10.

Ruutu hit defenseman Johnny Boychuk in the corner to start the play that resulted in Staal’s goal. As Boychuk was trying to get up — he had trouble breathing after his stick caught in the boards — Jiri Tlusty got the puck to Staal for a one-timer at 11:51 of the first.

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