Bruins 4, Hurricanes 1
Posted April 27, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT
BOSTON — Carolina coach Paul Maurice wore a black jacket and a gold tie, the colors of the Bruins. There were times his players looked like they were on Boston's side, too.
With too many turnovers in the neutral zone and too few offensive chances, the Hurricanes wasted an opportunity to take a commanding lead in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals Wednesday night.
The Bruins won 4-1 to even the series 2-2 and guarantee a sixth game Sunday night in Boston. Maurice is looking for a better performance in Carolina in Game 5 Friday night, although the franchise is 0-5 in series that were tied 2-2.
``It was a 50-50 game,'' Maurice said after his team squandered a 1-0 lead by allowing four goals in the last 22 minutes. ``Fifty percent of the Bruins' success was hard work and the other (50 percent) was the fabulous mistakes we made.''
So the team that moved from Hartford after the 1996-97 season and hasn't won a playoff series since 1986 must regain control or face elimination Sunday.
``The momentum has turned a little,'' Boston goalie Byron Dafoe said.
Both teams felt they would revert to their close checking styles after a relatively wide open Game 4.
``A lot of guys aren't going to be able to freewheel,'' said Ray Sheppard, whose fourth goal of the best-of-7 series gave Carolina a 1-0 lead just 4:21 into the game.
That, however, might have damaged the Hurricanes.
``Because Ray scores on a rush doesn't mean that's the way we create offense,'' Carolina's Keith Primeau said. ``All of a sudden we thought we could score on the rush and that really hurt us, because we turned the puck over a lot in the neutral zone.''
Boston defenseman Don Sweeney, who had just two goals in 81 regular-season games, tied the score with 1:42 left in the second period. He took a pass from Jason Allison and one-timed a 15-footer past goalie Arturs Irbe.
``They started sending a defenseman on the rush,'' Sheppard said. ``All of a sudden, you've got four guys attacking instead of three. It causes a little confusion.''
If Sweeney was an unlikely scorer, the Bruin who got the winning goal on a power play at 3:54 of the third period also wasn't counted on for offense much of the season. In fact, Landon Wilson spent most of it with Providence of the AHL.
He scored three goals in 22 regular-season games, including the last 18 after he was recalled for a second time. He may, however, have played his last game for the Bruins this season.
About 10 minutes after scoring, he separated his left shoulder. It happened, he said, when he was hit in the back by Steven Halko. He said he definitely would miss Game 5, but didn't rule himself out of Game 6.
``It hurts to not play because we're playing so well. I want to be part of it,'' said Wilson, who originally injured the shoulder on April 17. ``He didn't hit me hard. It's the way he hit me.''
His goal came after Ray Bourque shot the puck off the back wall and Joe Thornton collected it near the post and tried to jam it past Irbe. It trickled to the other side of the crease and Wilson jammed it in.
It may be the goal that turned the series around.
``A goal like that? A garbage goal?'' Wilson said incredulously. ``I'll take credit for that.''
Boston padded the lead when Steve Heinze got his second goal of the series with 8:44 left and Rob DiMaio put the puck in an empty net with 37 seconds to go.
``I thought we responded very well, after going down 1-0, to finally win at home,'' Dafoe said. ``Even though we got down early, we didn't pack it in.''
The win was just the second in the Bruins' last 13 home playoff games. And the Hurricanes had done well in Boston, where they had three wins despite going 7-22 in their 29 road playoff games.
``We're content now going home with a split, but our mindset going into this game wasn't to come back for Game 6,'' Primeau said.
``The mind is kind of a funny thing in sports,'' Dafoe said. ``Doubts can creep in and you hope you can throw them out the window when you play.
``Now maybe they have doubts.''