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Top Stories of 2012, No. 8: Bruins ousted in first round of playoffs by Capitals 12.26.12 at 8:42 am ET
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Over the final week of 2012, WEEI.com will count down the top 10 stories of the year in Boston sports. This entry in the countdown is No. 8: the Bruins’ first-round exit from the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Check out our previous entries:
No. 10: NHL lockout
No. 9: Wes Welker’s up-and-down year

Capitals forward Mike Knuble celebrates teammate Joel Ward's overtime goal that eliminated the Bruins in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. (AP)

Coming off a Stanley Cup season, the Bruins looked poised to make another run deep into the playoffs in 2012. However, they were dismissed in shocking fashion with a 2-1 overtime loss to the Capitals in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

One goal decided the series, and it was Joel Ward‘s overtime goal that decided Game 7. The Caps outscored the B’s 16-15 in the series. Four of the seven games were decided in overtime.

“It was a long year,” B’s defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said after the Game 7 loss. “We had a few ups and downs, longer ups than downs. At the end, we came out of it strong and we seemed to find our rhythm going into the playoffs. But then again, we didn’t play our best hockey in this series. They played us well. It was tough.

“It’s definitely a weird feeling. It’s an empty feeling. You’re wondering what’s going to happen. You don’t really realize it’s over. It’s summer now. It’s going to be a long summer. A couple of bounces here or there, it could’ve gone the other way. You always have to look at it from a different perspective. The next couple of days, it’s going to sink in, probably.”

The Bruins had 49 wins in the regular season, three more than they had during their Stanley Cup season. The Bruins put up an impressive 102 points despite the “Stanley Cup hangover” that contributed to their slow start and grabbed the second seed.

On the other side of the ice, the Capitals finished with 42 wins and 92 points. They made an early coaching change, firing Bruce Boudreau following eight losses in 11 games while the Capitals sat at 12-9-1, tied for eighth in the Eastern Conference. Dale Hunter, a former Capitals enforcer, took over and led the team to 30 wins. The Caps won eight of their last 14 games, including two shootout wins (one against the Bruins) in their final three games.

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Read More: 2012 Stories of the Year, Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, bruins
Former Capitals winger Alexander Semin signs one-year deal with Hurricanes 07.27.12 at 11:30 am ET
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Alexander Semin

The Hurricanes signed former Capitals winger Alexander Semin on Thursday, agreeing to terms on a one-year, $7 million contract with the former Southeast Division foe.

“Alexander’s elite skill level and ability to score from the wing fill an important need on the ice, and we hope that a fresh start in Carolina will serve both Alexander and our team well,” Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford said.

The Hurricanes, who fell short on their bids to acquire Zach Parise and Rick Nash, acquired the 28-year-old Semin, who has underperformed in his last two seasons with Washington. After scoring a career-high 40 goals and 84 points in 2009-10, Semin has totaled only 54 points in the past two seasons.

Semin had given the Hurricanes fits in the past, scoring 27 goals and 45 points in 41 career games, the most he has scored against any opponent.

With Semin signed and the acquisition of Jordan Staal earlier in the summer, the Hurricanes have had a very active offseason. Even with the Semin signing, the Hurricanes still have almost $13 million worth of salary cap space available, according to capgeek.com.

Read More: Alexander Semin, Capitals, Hurricanes, Rumor Mill