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Right wing Nino Niederreiter takes the puck up thie ice during the game in PNC Arena on Thursday, April 28, 2022. The Hurricanes beat the Devils 6-3.

The Carolina Hurricanes took care of business with a 5-1 win over the Boston Bruins at PNC Arena on Monday, May 2, kicking off their 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs run win with a bang.

The Canes (55-20-8) imposed their will on the Bruins (51-26-5) on both ends of the ice, with defensive efforts being headlined by goaltender Antti Raanta in his first playoff start for Carolina.

“It gets a little more physical — every small detail matters when the playoffs start,” Raanta said. “For me, I was just trying to focus on the things that would allow me to be successful and what I’ve been doing to get to this point. (...)  It was one win, now it’s time to regroup and get ready for Wednesday.”

Despite what the final score suggests, Boston didn’t come to mess around at PNC Arena. The Canes may have outscored the Bruins 16-1 throughout the regular-season series, but Raanta experienced plenty of action within the first 10 minutes of the postseason. Raanta made 10 saves in the first nine minutes, saving the Hurricanes from themselves as Boston nailed shot after shot on goal.

Raanta was the biggest star on the ice for the majority of the first period. With a little over seven minutes left, he made an incredible rebound save from Boston’s Patrice Bergeron. Less than 20 seconds later, Carolina barely missed out on a goal that the refs deemed too close for comfort, but the near-miss seemed to shake the team awake.

By the end of the first period, the Canes had fired 10 shots on goal to nearly match Boston’s 14. Two penalties from the Bruins in the last half of the period gave Carolina two opportunities to break the scoreless game with a power play point, but it was all the team could do to hold its own against Boston’s defense.

Raanta continued to save shots with ease through the beginning of the second period, but there’s no denying that Carolina’s offense stepped up. Boston’s Linus Ullmark saved a bullet from center Vincent Trocheck about five minutes into the period, and a penalty against defenseman Ian Cole didn’t deter the Canes from breaking through in the second half of the period.

Center Seth Jarvis broke the ice with about three and a half minutes left in the second period, tapping the puck just over the line with the help of defensemen Jaccob Slavin and Cole. It’s hard to believe that a 20-year-old rookie would score the Canes’ first goal of the playoffs, but the Winnipeg native has seen oodles of progress since his NHL debut last October.

Two minutes later, right-wing Nino Niedrreiter gave Carolina some extra security heading into the third period. With a bullet of a goal that soared right past Ullmark, Canes fans were up on their feet for the second time in less than three minutes.

The Bruins were definitely jostled after the sudden 2-0 lead pulled by the Canes, and the team responded in turn with a powerful goal from left-wing Taylor Hall, assisted by fellow left-wing Erik Haula and defenseman Charlie McAvoy. Within five minutes, however, left-wing Teuvo Teräväinen gave Carolina some extra cushion.

From there on out, the Canes were on fire offensively. Although Carolina never met Boston’s number of shots on goal, the team more than made up for it with two more goals to wrap up the 5-1 game in a neat, tidy bow: one from Trocheck and a narrow shot on an open net from right-wing Andrei Svechnikov to cement the Hurricanes’ victory in the first playoff game.

Despite these crowd-rousing performances from Carolina, the real star of the ice throughout the team’s playoff debut was Raanta. Time and time again, the Finland native made save after nail-biting save. Out of 36 shots on goal from the Bruins, Raanta only allowed one to slip through in his first playoff game in Carolina, an impressive feat for the 32-year-old.

The Hurricanes will face the Bruins again on Wednesday, May 4 at PNC Arena for the second game in the first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs. Puck drops at 7 p.m.

The Canes came to play in their series opener against Boston, downing the Bruins 5-1 inside PNC Arena behind sensational play in net and a late offensive barrage on Monday, May 2.

 

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.