After defeating the visiting Boston Bruins 3-2 in Game 7 of their first-round series on Saturday, the Carolina Hurricanes advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Max Domi, a late-season signing, led the Hurricanes with two goals and three points. Boston had goals from Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak.
The winner of Sunday’s Game 7 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Rangers will be Carolina’s next opponent.
The advantage of playing on home ice proved to be crucial in the series. The host team won each game for only the ninth time in NHL playoff history.
Boston has not lost in the first round since 2016-17, having advanced to the semifinals in three of the previous four seasons and appearing in the Stanley Cup Final in 2018-19.
Prior to this season, the Bruins had eliminated Carolina in two of the previous three postseasons (the Eastern Conference finals in 2018-19 and the second round of the NHL’s COVID-19 tournament in 2020-21), both times with the Bruins.
The Hurricanes’ third attempt paid off, and they were able to finally send Boston into the summer early.
“Coming into this one, it’s such a different vibe,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said.
“If we had won the other ones, I believe you would have been startled. This time, it seemed like it was our turn. Our guys have grown up. I believe they felt the same way.”
But it wasn’t an easy journey. Carolina was without starter goaltender Frederik Andersen for the entire series due to a lower-body injury, and Boston winger David Pastrnak collided with Andersen’s backup Antti Raanta in Game 2 and sent him out with an upper-body injury.
Pyotr Kochetkov, a rookie, made his NHL playoff debut and assisted the Hurricanes in their triumph.
Boston switched from Linus Ullmark (.860 SV%, 4.16 GAA in Games 1 and 2) to rookie Jeremy Swayman for Game 3 and went on to win the following two games by a total score of 9-4.
The Hurricanes rallied for a resounding Game 5 victory (while Boston was without top defenseman Charlie McAvoy due to a COVID-19 diagnosis), only to be suffocated by the Bruins’ offence in Game 6. (For which McAvoy returned).
Swayman and Raanta had never previously appeared in a Game 7. And both goaltenders would be put to the test right away in a fast-paced opening period.
The Hurricanes and Bruins traded opportunities before Teuvo Teravainen ultimately beat Swayman backdoor in the final 90 seconds.
Boston couldn’t get out of the first period with a 1-0 deficit before Taylor Hall was given a double-minor penalty for high sticking.
To get Hall out of the box, the Bruins penalty kill came through — and Swayman made many important saves — only for Domi to sneak behind the Bruins’ coverage and extend Carolina’s lead to 2-0.
Domi scored his first postseason goal, but it would not be his last.
“Obviously, coming to a team like this was really lucky,” Domi remarked.
Domi came knocking again midway through the second period after DeBrusk let a puck sail past Raanta to trim the Bruins’ deficit to one.
This season, Boston was 1-13-0 when down by several goals after two periods. Even though Pastrnak added another goal with 20 seconds left in regulation, the record would not improve.
“Whatever it is, you’re progressing, which is the best thing,” Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin said.
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