RALEIGH, NC (AP) — Seth Jarvis and Nino Niederreiter scored second-period goals and Antti Raanta was strong in net to help the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Boston Bruins 5-1 on Monday night at the first game of their first-round playoff series.
Raanta made 35 saves in his first career playoff start with No. 1 goaltender Frederik Andersen sidelined by injury. He held off Boston’s game-opening push to keep Carolina in the game before Jarvis and Niederreiter scored about two minutes apart in the second period to break a scoreless tie.
Carolina never gave up that lead. Teuvo Teravainen and Vincent Trocheck added third-period goals that helped Carolina stay in control and then extend their lead in that best-of-seven series opener.
Andrei Svechnikov punctuated the win with an empty-netter at 17:59, capping what turned into a dominant third period against a team that has ousted Carolina twice from the playoffs in recent years.
Taylor Hall scored for Boston early in the third, beating Raanta between the circles after a pass from Erik Haula after a scuffle behind the net. He almost tied the game a few minutes later when he slashed the left post. But those were the only real mistakes for Raanta, who performed the routine glove saves as well as the most impressive dive saves or post-to-post slides.
The Hurricanes won the Metropolitan Division, marking the second straight season they won a division title. And they went from a nine-year playoff drought to reaching the playoffs for the fourth straight season, the first time that has happened since the former Hartford Whalers moved to North Carolina in 1997.
But the first two of those runs ended against the Bruins, first in a four-game sweep in the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals, followed by a five-game loss in the first round of the Toronto bubble a year later.
This time they start with a seed.
Linus Ullmark finished with 20 saves for the Bruins, who lost all four meetings with Carolina this year by a combined score of 21-2.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was in attendance, laughing and offering a wave while hearing hearty boos while being shown on the video board during a second period stoppage.
Retired Hurricanes captain Justin Williams sounded the storm warning siren before the game for the team to take to the ice, followed by Kim and Penn Holderness – a Raleigh family who recently won the show CBS reality show “The Amazing Race” – for the second period.
North Carolina men’s basketball coach Hubert Davis sounded the siren for the third. The freshman coach led the Tar Heels to the NCAA Championship Game and heard plenty of cheering in the arena that the Hurricanes share with rival UNC North Carolina State.
Game 2 is Wednesday in Raleigh.
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