Raleigh, North Carolina Twice before, Carolina Hurricanes made it to the playoffs only to see her rise to become a serious Stanley Cup contender fended off by the Boston Bruins.
Two newcomers helped the Hurricanes finally get past their playoff chill — and at Game 7, then.
Max Domy’s possession of Medson scored twice in the second half while Ante Ranta scored 27 saves to help the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Boston Bruins 3-2 on Saturday to win the first round contest.
Teofu Teravainen also scored for the Hurricanes, which eliminated a team swept by the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals and then took a five-game streak in the first round in the Toronto Bubble a year later.
“It’s a different feeling that comes into that,” Carolina coach Rod Brend Amour said. “I think again in other matters, if we were going to win, you might have been a bit surprised.
“This time, I felt like it was time. Our guys have matured. I think they felt that too.”
Carolina moves into the second round to meet the winner of Sunday’s Game 7 game between the New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
One thing is for sure: winning the Metropolitan Division title cleared the way by securing the home ice advantage. This was a series in which neither team managed a win on the road, with the Hurricanes finally getting the last word supported by another raucous crowd from home.
“Obviously we needed one down the road, and we just couldn’t do it,” Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron said.
Carolina continued to hold on after squandering a 2-0 lead in the series and then an impressive performance in Thursday’s Game Six loss with a chance to advance.
“Game 7, game 4, 5, 6 – whatever it is, you progress, which is the best thing,” said defender Jacob Slavin.
Domi was an unexpected star in this. Carolina acquired him before the March trading deadline, and he rewarded them with his first career goals after the season ended. He also assisted in Teravainen’s goal with a perfect pass to the crease top in the first half.
“Obviously, I was very fortunate to have joined a team like this,” Domy said.
Then there’s Ranta, who joined Fredrik Andersen in reforming the team for his position as goalkeeper. But with Andersen injured late in the regular season, Ranta advanced in the pucker despite never having started a post-season game before.
It was again fixed in the network. His biggest stop came early with a complete block to deny Taylor Hall near the left post a 2 on 1 chance in the first period of a goalless match.
David Pasternak scored with 21.7 seconds left for Boston after they pulled Jeremy Swayman for the extra striker. From there, the Hurricanes had to last in one tense bout to kill the clock before they could celebrate.
“When they got the second, it was probably the longest 20 seconds of my life for sure,” Ranta said.
Jake Debrosk scored in the second half 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 skate down the left flank to bury a redirect attempt from Jordan Stahl in 3:14 of a second.
Later, after DeBrusk beat Raanta from the top of the tuck, Teravainen whipped up a pass to Domi for one time. The ball passed Swayman at 10:33 seconds to lead 3-1 and another goal came just a few feet from the crease.
“We take great pride in covering Zone D, things we’ve done very well all year,” Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said. “There are two details, yes, they played plays, but we should more not get the job done defensively – be in the right spots, good sticks.”
The Hurricanes have improved to 6-0 in the 7s since the former Hartford Whalers moved to North Carolina in 1997. This includes the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals against Edmonton, as well as a second-round overtime win at Boston in 2009—which came 13 years later in earlier today.
The Bruins were in the sixth straight playoffs. But it’s the first time a Boston team has gone without a series win since falling in a six-game series to Ottawa in 2017.
Longtime No. 1 Bergeron could become an unrestricted free agent after 18 seasons with the team. He refused to talk about a new contract during the year, which created the possibility of leaving him or retiring.
He wasn’t ready then to think about the next step.
“It’s very fresh right now,” Bergeron said. “It’s still obviously stinging from a hard-earned streak. It came short, so obviously I’ll think about it. But I’m not around now.
The Hurricanes had the largest domestic crowd in franchise history with 19,513 attendance. That surpassed the previous record of 19,955 during the second-round final win of the New Yorkers sweep in 2019.
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