BOSTON – 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.

“We have to play every team like they are the Bruins,” Ward said. “It is a real compliment to our team to beat the champs four times.”

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 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.

“We are not that great of a team when we’re just going out there and going through the motions,” said Bruins Coach Claude Julien, whose team played a poor second period against Ottawa on Tuesday before rebounding in the third. “Right now we’re playing more like a team that should be at the bottom of the standings then at the top of the standings, and that’s the reality of it.”

FLYERS 4, PREDATORS 1: Wayne Simmonds had two goals, Matt Read and Claude Giroux also scored, and Philadelphia snapped visiting Nashville’s five-game winning streak.

DEVILS 5, CANADIENS 3: Zach Parise scored two goals, including the go-ahead tally with 2:44 remaining, and New Jersey rallied to beat Montreal at Newark, N.J.

JETS 2, LIGHTNING 1: Kyle Wellwood scored 3:14 into overtime to lift visiting Winnipeg past Tampa Bay.

NOTES

Winnipeg defenseman Dustin Byfuglien will likely go to trial in a boating while impaired case in Minnesota, his attorney said. Byfuglien is accused of boating while intoxicated and other charges stemming from an Aug. 31 incident on Lake Minnetonka. … After missing 10 games because of a separated shoulder, Jeff Carter was activated by the Columbus Blue Jackets.


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