RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Twice before, the Carolina Hurricanes had made the playoffs only to see their rise to become a serious Stanley Cup contender blocked by the Boston Bruins.
Two newcomers helped the Hurricanes finally get past their playoff bully, and in a Game 7, at that.
Midseason acquisition Max Domi scored twice in the second period, while Antti Raanta had 27 saves to help the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Boston Bruins 3-2 on Saturday to win their first-round playoff series.
Teuvo Teravainen also scored for the Hurricanes, who ultimately defeated a team that swept them in the 2019 Eastern Conference finals and then took a five-game first-round series in the Toronto bubble a year later.
“It’s such a different feeling coming into this one,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “I think of the others, if we had won, you might have been a bit surprised.
“This time, I felt like it was our moment. Our boys have matured. I think they felt that too.”
Carolina moves on to the second round to face the winner of Sunday’s Game 7 between the New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
One thing is for sure: winning the Metropolitan Division title paved the way for securing home court advantage. This was a series in which neither team could pull off an away win, with the Hurricanes finally getting the last word backed by another rowdy home crowd.
“Obviously, we needed one on the road, and we couldn’t do that,” Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron said.
Carolina held on after blowing a 2-0 series lead and then a poor showing in Thursday’s Game 6 loss with a chance to advance.
“Game 7, Game 4, 5, 6 – whatever it is, you’re moving forward, which is for the best,” defenseman Jaccob Slavin said.
Domi was an unlikely star in this one. Carolina acquired him before the March trade deadline, and he rewarded them with the first postseason goals of his career. He also assisted Teravainen’s goal with a perfect pass to the top of the box for the first period kickoff.
“Obviously I was very lucky to come to a team like this,” said Domi.
Then there’s Raanta, who joined Frederik Andersen in the team’s review of his goalkeeping position. But with Andersen injured at the end of the regular season, Raanta took the lead in the crease even though he had never started a postseason game before.
He was firm again in the net. His biggest save came early with a full save to deny Taylor Hall near the left post on a 2-on-1 opportunity in the first period of a scoreless game.
David Pastrnak scored one with 21.7 seconds remaining and Boston brought in Jeremy Swayman as an additional hitter. From there, the Hurricanes had to endure a tense at-bat that ran out the clock before they could celebrate.
“When they got the second one, it was probably the longest 20 seconds of my life,” Raanta said.
Jake DeBrusk scored in the second period for the Bruins, while Swayman finished with 28 saves. But the Bruins found themselves playing catch-up after Domi’s first goal, which had him skidding down the left side to bury a Jordan Staal redirection attempt at 3:14 of the second.
Later, after DeBrusk beat Raanta from the top of the box, Teravainen threw a one-time pass to Domi. The puck got past Swayman at 10:33 of the second for the 3-1 lead and another goal just a few feet from the box.
“We pride ourselves on coverage of Zone D, things we’ve done very well all year,” Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Two breakdowns that, yes, made plays, but more on us for not doing the job defensively: being in the right spots, good sticks.”
The Hurricanes improved to 6-0 in Game 7 since the former Hartford Whalers moved to North Carolina in 1997. That includes the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals against Edmonton, as well as a second-round overtime victory. in Boston in 2009, which arrived 14 years ago. Before the day.
The Bruins were in their sixth straight playoff run. But this is the first time Boston has gone without winning a series since losing a six-game series to Ottawa in 2017.
THE FUTURE OF BERGERON
Bergeron, the longtime No. 1 center, may become an unrestricted free agent after 18 seasons with the team. He has refused to talk about a new contract during the year, raising the possibility that he could leave or retire.
I wasn’t ready afterward to think about what’s next.
“It’s too cool right now,” Bergeron said. “It still hurts obviously from a very close series. It fell short, so obviously I’m going to have to think about it. But I’m not there now.
The Hurricanes had their largest home crowd in franchise history with an attendance of 19,513. That topped the previous mark of 19,495 during the final victory in a second-round sweep of the New York Islanders in 2019.
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