RALEIGH, NC (AP) — Twice before, the Carolina Hurricanes had made the playoffs only to see their rise to serious Stanley Cup contenders blocked by the Boston Bruins.
Two newcomers helped the Hurricanes finally push past their playoff bully — and in a Game 7 at that.
Mid-season takeover Max Domi scored twice in the second half while Antti Raanta made 27 saves as the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Boston Bruins 3-2 on Saturday and won their first-round playoff series.
Teuvo Teravainen also scored for the Hurricanes, who eventually defeated a team they defeated in the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals and a year later won a five-game streak in the first round of the Toronto Bubble.
“It’s a completely different feeling when you come in here,” said Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour. “Thinking back to the others, if we had won you might have been a bit surprised.
“This time I felt like it was our time. Our boys have matured. I think they felt that too.”
Carolina advances to the second round to face off against the winner of Sunday’s Game 7 between the New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
One thing is certain, winning the Metropolitan Division title paved the way by securing home field advantage. This was a series in which neither team was able to achieve an away win, with the Hurricanes eventually getting the final say, helped by another vociferous home crowd.
“Obviously we needed one on the road and we couldn’t do that,” Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron said.
Carolina persevered after wasting a 2-0 lead in the series and then a chunky performance in Thursday’s Game 6 loss with a chance to advance.
“Game 7, Game 4, 5, 6 – whatever it is, you’re making progress, which is for the best,” said defenseman Jaccob Slavin.
Domi was an unlikely star in this one. Carolina took him on before the March trade deadline and he has rewarded her with his first postseason career goals. He also assisted Teravainen’s goal with a perfect pass to the top of the goal area to tuck away in the first half.
“Of course I was pretty lucky to join such a team,” said Domi.
Then there’s Raanta, who has joined Frederik Andersen in overhauling the team’s goalkeeping position. With Andersen injured late in the regular season, Raanta took the lead in the crease despite never having started a postseason game before.
He was stable again in the network. His biggest stop came early with a full split save to thwart Taylor Hall near the left post in a 2-on-1 chance in the first half of a goalless game.
David Pastrnak scored one by 21.7 seconds, with Boston drawing Jeremy Swayman for the additional attacker. From then on, the Hurricanes had to endure a tense, time-consuming shift before they could celebrate.
“When they got the second, it was easily the longest 20 seconds of my life,” Raanta said.
Jake DeBrusk scored for the Bruins in the second half while Swayman finished with 28 saves. But the Bruins played a comeback from Domi’s first goal that saw him come in down the left to bury a Jordan Staal redirect attempt at 3:14 of the second.
Later, after DeBrusk punched Raanta from the top of the crease, Teravainen whipped a pass to Domi for a one-timer. The puck darted past Swayman at 10:33 of the second to give it a 3-1 lead and another goal fell just yards from the crease.
“We’re proud of the D-Zone coverage, things we’ve done very well all year,” said Boston coach Bruce Cassidy. “Two glitches that, yes, they made plays, but more about us not getting the job done defensively – be in the right places, 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 Final against Edmonton, as well as a second-round win in overtime in Boston in 2009 — which came 14 years earlier to the day.
The Bruins were in the playoffs for the sixth straight season. But this is the first time Boston has been eliminated without winning a series since failing in a six-game series against Ottawa in 2017.
Bergeron, the longtime No. 1 center, is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent after 18 seasons with the team. He has declined to talk about a new contract later in the year, which has raised the possibility that he could leave or retire.
He wasn’t ready after that to think about what’s next.
“Right now it’s too fresh,” Bergeron said. “It still clearly stands out from a highly competitive series. Came up short, so of course I’ll have to think about it. But I’m not there right now.
The Hurricanes had their largest home audience in franchise history with 19,513 viewers. This surpassed the previous mark of 19,495 in the final win in the second round win over the New York Islanders in 2019.
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https://www.boston.com/sports/boston-bruins/2022/05/14/bruins-hurricanes-game-7-final-score-game-recap-highlights/ Max Domi and Antti Raanta help the Hurricanes defeat the Bruins 3-2 in Game 7