RALEIGH, NC (AP) — Twice before, the Carolina Hurricanes had reached the playoffs only to see their rise to becoming a serious Stanley Cup contender blocked by the Boston Bruins.
Two newcomers finally helped the Hurricanes overtake their playoff bully — and in a Game 7, at that.
Midseason acquisition Max Domi scored twice in the second period while Antti Raanta made 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 eventually put aside a team that swept them in the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals and then won a five-game first-round series in the Toronto bubble. one year later.
“It’s such a different feeling going into this one,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “I think back to the others, if we had won you might have been a bit surprised.
“This time around I felt like it was our time. Our guys have matured. I think they felt it too.
Carolina advances to the second round to face the winner of Sunday’s Game 7 between the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins.
One thing is certain: winning the Metropolitan Division title paved the way in securing home-court advantage. It was a series in which neither team managed to secure a road win, with the Hurricanes ultimately getting the last laugh backed by another raucous home crowd.
“Obviously we needed it on the road, and we couldn’t do it,” Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron said.
Carolina hung on after squandering a 2-0 series lead and then a clumsy performance in Thursday’s Game 6 loss with a chance to advance.
“Game 7, game 4, 5, 6 – whatever it is, you move on, which is the best thing,” defender Jaccob Slavin said.
Domi was an unlikely star in this one. Carolina acquired him before the March trade deadline and he rewarded them with his first playoff goals. He also assisted on Teravainen’s goal with a perfect pass to the top of the crease for the takedown in the first half.
“Obviously I was very lucky to come to a team like this,” Domi said.
Then there’s Raanta, who joined Frederik Andersen in revamping his goalkeeping position. But with Andersen injured at the end of the regular season, Raanta took the lead in the crease despite never having started a post-season game before.
He was stable in front of the net again. His biggest save came early with a full save to prevent Taylor Hall near the left post on a 2-on-1 chance in the first half of a scoreless game.
David Pastrnak scored one with 21.7 seconds left as Boston pulled out Jeremy Swayman for the extra forward. From there, the Hurricanes had to hold on to a tense shift 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 catching up after Domi’s first goal, which skated him down the left side to bury a Jordan Staal redirect attempt at 3:14 of the second.
Later, after DeBrusk beat Raanta off the top of the crease, Teravainen whipped a pass to Domi for a one-timer. The puck passed Swayman at 10:33 of the second for a 3-1 lead and another goal just feet from the crease.
“We’re proud of the D-Zone coverage, things that we’ve done really well all year,” Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Two breakdowns which, yes, they made plays, but more on us for not getting the job done defensively – being in the right places, right 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 Final against Edmonton, as well as an overtime victory in the second tour in Boston in 2009 – which lasted 14 years. Earlier in the day.
The Bruins were in their sixth consecutive playoffs. But it’s the first time Boston has gone without a series win since falling to a six-game series against Ottawa in 2017.
THE FUTURE OF BERGERON
Bergeron, the longtime No. 1 center, can become an unrestricted free agent after 18 seasons with the team. He refused to talk about a new contract during the year, creating the possibility that he could leave or retire.
He wasn’t ready to think about what was next.
“It’s too cool right now,” Bergeron said. “It still stings obviously from a hard-fought series. I was short, so obviously I’ll have to think about it. But I’m not here right now.
The Hurricanes had their largest home crowd in franchise history with an attendance of 19,513. That surpassed the previous mark of 19,495 in the eventual victory in a second-round sweep of the New York Islanders in 2019.
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