Saturday's NHL: Hurricanes close out Bruins in Game 7; Lightning, Oilers advance

Aaron Beard
Associated Press

Raleigh, N.C. — Twice before, the Carolina Hurricanes had reached the playoffs only to see their ascent to becoming a serious Stanley Cup contender blocked by the Boston Bruins.

Two newcomers helped the Hurricanes finally push past their playoff bully — and in a Game 7, at that.

Carolina Hurricanes players celebrate around goaltender Antti Raanta following their win over the Boston Bruins in Game 7.

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 finally put away a team that swept them in the 2019 Eastern Conference finals 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 back in the other ones, if we would’ve won, you guys might have been a little surprised.

“This time around, I felt like it was our time. Our guys 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 certain: winning the Metropolitan Division title paved the way by securing home-ice advantage. This was a series in which neither team could manage a road win, with the Hurricanes eventually getting the final word backed by yet another rowdy home crowd.

“Obviously we needed one on the road, and we couldn’t do that,” Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron said.

Carolina hung on after squandering a 2-0 series lead and then a clunker performance in Thursday’s Game 6 loss with a chance to advance.

“Game 7, Game 4, 5, 6 – whatever it is, you’re advancing, which is the best thing,” defenseman Jaccob Slavin said.

Domi was an unlikely star in this one. Carolina acquired him ahead of the March trade deadline, and he rewarded them with his first career postseason goals. He also assisted on Teravainen’s goal with a perfect pass to the top of the crease for the first-period putaway.

“Obviously I was pretty lucky to come to a team like this,” Domi said.

Then there’s Raanta, who joined Frederik Andersen in the team’s overhaul of its goaltender position. But with Andersen injured late in the regular season, Raanta took the lead in the crease despite never starting a postseason game before.

He was again steady in net. His biggest stop came early with a full-split save to deny Taylor Hall near the left post on a 2-on-1 chance in the first period of a scoreless game.

David Pastrnak scored one with 21.7 seconds left with Boston having pulled Jeremy Swayman for the extra attacker. From there, the Hurricanes had to hang on through one tense clock-killing shift before they could celebrate.

“When they got the second one, it was probably the longest 20 seconds in my life for sure,” 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 skating in on the left side to bury a redirect attempt from Jordan Staal at 3:14 of the second.

Later, after DeBrusk had beaten Raanta from the top of the crease, Teravainen whipped a pass to Domi for a one-timer. The puck zipped past Swayman at 10:33 of the second for the 3-1 lead and another goal coming within a few feet of the crease.

“We pride ourselves on D-zone coverage, stuff we’ve done very well all year,” Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Two breakdowns that, yeah, they made plays, but more on us not to get the job done defensively – be in the right spots, good sticks.”

Tampa Bay 2, (at) Toronto 1: Nick Paul scored twice, including an incredible individual effort on the tiebreaking goal late in the second period, and the Lightning won Game 7 to win their first-round playoff series.

Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 29 shots for the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions.

Morgan Rielly scored for Toronto, which hasn’t reached the second round since 2004 and is now 0-9 in elimination games over the last five postseasons after also losing 4-3 in Game 6 at Tampa, Florida, two nights earlier. Jack Campbell had 23 saves.

The Maple Leafs were once again unable to push through and finally flip a long, ugly narrative of playoff failures for a franchise that has now lost its last seven series, including six straight dating back to 2017.

Toronto is now 7-3 all-time at home in Game 7s, including a loss at Scotiabank Arena last season after blowing a 3-1 series lead against the Montreal Canadiens.

Edmonton 2, L.A. Kings 0: Connor McDavid had a goal and an assist as the Oilers advanced through to the second round, beating the Kings in Game 7.

Cody Ceci also scored and Mike Smith made 28 saves for his second shutout of the playoffs for the Oilers, who last won a Game 7 in 1998 and celebrated their first playoff series win since 2017.

Jonathan Quick made 39 saves for the Kings, who have not won a playoff series since they won their second Stanley Cup in 2014 – also the last year they won a series in a Game 7.

There was no scoring in a tense opening period, with the Oilers putting 10 shots on Quick, while the Kings sent seven on Smith. Quick came into the game with a 4-0 career record in Game 7s.

The Oilers will now advance to play either Calgary or Dallas, who are going to a Game 7 of their own on Sunday.