The Carolina Hurricanes advanced to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2019 after an exhausting 3-2 game five win over the New Jersey Devils.
Despite playing catch-up the whole game, the Canes outperformed the Devils when it mattered most. The game was a back-and-forth battle between both benches. Carolina led in shots on goal throughout all 60 minutes of play, finishing with a 39 to New Jersey’s 29.
While this game did not have the offensive power that was seen throughout the previous four games of the series – each of those games had more than four goals scored – this game was won with defensive power and play. Defensemen Brent Burns and Jaccob Slavin were crucial to the Canes bench and on the ice, and each recorded a goal to prove it. Burns recorded 26 minutes of icetime, followed closely by Slavin with 24.
Get you a D man who can do both pic.twitter.com/M1t8fVL0tK— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) May 12, 2023
The first period was slow on both sides of the ice, but especially for the Canes. Once again, New Jersey scored the first point off of a sneaky shot from center Dawson Mercer. While the Canes were unable to score in the first period, they came out strong in the second.
It was Slavin who put Carolina on the board, slipping one past the New Jersey goalkeeper less than a minute into the second frame. Left wing Jordan Martinook assisted on the goal, his seventh of the postseason. New Jersey scored again a few minutes later, but Burns energized the Caniac crowd when he tied the game 2-2 with less than 40 seconds left in the period.
Pucks on net! pic.twitter.com/dEP1sdL6YQ— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) May 12, 2023
While the third period lacked offensive swagger, with neither team scoring throughout the 20 minutes, it made up for it in defensive power. The Canes defense was able to keep the Devils at five shots on goal throughout the period and goaltender Frederik Andersen made some clutch saves. Andersen finished the game having stopped 27 of the 29 shots that came his way, an impressive .931 save percentage.
As the final minutes of the third period ticked down, both teams prepared themselves for an intense overtime match-up. When the puck dropped for OT, the Canes were all over the ice trying to get the final word – or shot. Right wing Jesper Fast – who should be nicknamed Mr. OT – sent the Devils home packing with a quick power play goal to bring the final score to 3-2. Fast scored another OT winner against the New York Islanders in round one and has proven himself to be a clutch player.
JESPER FAST SERIES WINNER IN OT 🚨 pic.twitter.com/pdi3Mkx1tq— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) May 12, 2023
Carolina will compete against the winner of the Toronto Maple Leafs/Florida Panthers series in the Eastern Conference Final.
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