CanesVsMontreal_AhoFaceoff_ER.JPG

Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho fights to win a faceoff during the game against Montreal on Thursday, March 31, 2022 in PNC Arena. The Hurricanes won 39 of 60 total faceoffs throughout the evening. The Hurricanes shutout the Canadiens 4-0.

Wrapping up the first two playoff games of the series, the Carolina Hurricanes blew past the Boston Bruins for the second time in three nights to finish 5-2 at PNC Arena on Wednesday, May 4.

Albeit a nail-biting match at times thanks to the physicality between Boston and Carolina, the Hurricanes took care of business and never trailed for the entire 60 minutes of gameplay, which bodes well ahead of this weekend’s play in Boston.

Monday night didn’t disappoint for Hurricanes fans. Carolina’s playoff debut was highlighted by goaltender Antti Raanta’s impressive performance against Boston’s powerful offensive squad. Plus, rookie center Seth Jarvis broke the ice by scoring the Hurricanes’ first goal of the postseason.

Heading into Wednesday night’s match, Carolina’s main focus was on keeping Boston’s offense at bay — the Bruins nailed 36 shots on goal against the Hurricanes on Monday night, testing Raanta and the rest of the team despite what the final score suggested.

Right off the bat, Carolina’s play became physical. Similarly to Monday night’s performance, the Bruins brought the heat over the first half of the first period, but the Hurricanes matched their energy right away.

Right-wing Nino Niederreiter headed to the bench for tripping Boston’s Brandon Carlo to give Boston its first power play of the game. Luckily, Carolina passed its first penalty kill test and made it through the first five minutes of gameplay without a scratch.

A mere three minutes after Niederreiter made it back onto the ice, defensemen Tony DeAngelo captured Carolina’s second penalty for goaltender interference. Seconds later, Boston’s David Pasternak plowed straight into Raanta, his glove catching the goalie’s face.

“There wasn’t a dull moment, that’s for sure — a bit of everything in that game,” said Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’amour. “You never want to see your guys get hurt, and we didn’t like seeing our goalie getting taken out.”

Fans crossed their fingers for Raanta’s swift return, but within minutes, backup goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov stepped onto the ice. Kotchetkov, all of 22 years old, has had three regular season games in the NHL under his belt before making a surprise entrance at tonight’s matchup, but his record speaks for itself — 3-0, impressive for the young Russian goalie.

Right-wing Jesper Fast scored the first goal of the night, assisted by center Jordan Staal and defenseman Jaccob Slavin. Fast’s first goal of the playoffs came with a little under seven minutes to go in the first period, a neat little bullet that slid past the right side of Boston’s Linus Ullmark.

Just as things started to ramp up offensively, center Sebastian Aho smashed his first goal of the night with assists from DeAngelo and Slavin — one goal closer to passing Kevin Dineen to tie for the third-most goals in franchise playoff history.

Beyond the offensive line, Kotchetkov was holding his own against the Bruins. It wasn’t anything quite to the effect of Raanta's performance on Monday night, but most fans in attendance seemed to put their full weight behind Kotchetkov’s goaltending skills.

In what would become only the first physical altercation of the evening, the refs penalized Boston’s Patrice Bergeron for slashing with a little over a minute of gameplay left in the first period. 59 seconds later, Niederreiter and Boston’s Charlie Coyle started shoving on the edge of the rink, which brought on a slew of penalties as time expired — namely, targeting Coyle, Niederreiter, Carlo, Bruins’ Erik Haula and Canes center Seth Jarvis.

Aho came one goal closer to making history with yet another goal, this time with no assists at the top of the second period. Although spirits were down slightly after news that Raanta wouldn’t be returning for at least the rest of the game, Aho brought the energy with a 3-0 lead barely into the second period.

Later down the line, the Bruins scored their first goal of the night and Carolina gave up its power play kill streak with a bullet from Bergeron. Now on the board, Boston took the opportunity to rough things up even more ahead of the third period.

To say that the end of the second period was aggressive would be an understatement. By the time the clock ran out, three Bruins sat in the penalty box for some form of unnecessary roughness: Carlo, who served a double minor penalty for roughing against right-wing Andrei Svechnikov, Boston left-wing Brad Marchand, for slashing, and defenseman Derek Folbort, penalized for holding.

“Trust would be the word — trust your teammates, everything, so that keeps you confident to go do your own thing,” Aho said. “A lot happened today… it would have been easy to go off the rails and start doing stuff we don’t normally do.”

Heading into the third period on a power play, the fans’ energy was palpable from a hundred miles away — no major fights broke out within the first two minutes, although a bit of friendly fire between Svechnikov and Boston’s Charlie McAvoy certainly caught their teammates’ eyes.

However, as the Bruins spiraled into the land of limited control as the third period waned, physical fights as a result of egregious penalties or missteps broke out in clusters across the rink. The Hurricanes kept their eyes on the prize, even after Bergeron scored his second goal of the night with 7:39 left in the game.

Boston took Ullmark out with about three minutes left of gameplay, as penalties continued to pile up between both teams. Even with a wide-open net, it took the Canes a few minutes to fire off a well-placed shot, but Niederreiter took the cake with a mere 41 seconds left. Very reminiscent of Monday night’s gameplay, the arena lit up like a Christmas tree as Carolina’s victory was cemented for the second time in three nights.

The Hurricanes will face the Bruins again on Friday, May 6 at TD Garden in Boston for the third game in the first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs. Puck drops at 7 p.m.

Managing Editor

I am a first-year student studying biology with a minor in technical and scientific communication. I joined Technician as a correspondent in August 2020, and I am currently the Managing Editor.