19,513 fans watched the Carolina Hurricanes advance to the Second Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs after defeating the Boston Bruins, 3-2, in Game 7 of their First Round series at PNC Arena Saturday afternoon.
Max Domi scored a pair of goals in the win as the Hurricanes entertained their largest crowd in franchise history, surpassing that of their 2019 Second Round series sweep of the New York Islanders in Game 4.
Carolina awaits the winner of the New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins series (Game 7 is Sunday with the series tied 3-3).
Meanwhile, Boston heads into a long offseason filled with decisions to make on their own amid a waiting game regarding the playing future of captain, Patrice Bergeron, as the 36-year-old is wrapping up his 18th National Hockey League season and is a pending-unrestricted free agent this summer.
Bergeron indicated before the 2021-22 season began that he wouldn’t negotiate a new contract in season and is likely to begin signing one-year deals as he enters the twilight of his career, though opting to retire altogether remains an option.
After 400 goals and 582 assists (982 points) in 1,216 career regular season games, as well as 49 goals and 78 assists (127 points) in 167 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, Bergeron has certainly had quite the career.
He won a Stanley Cup ring in 2011 (scoring the game-winning goal in a, 4-0, win in Game 7 in Vancouver), could very well take home an NHL record fifth Frank J. Selke Trophy this season, is a member of the Triple Gold Club– and even more elusive Quadruple Gold Club and/or Quintuple Gold Club, depending on how you take into account World Junior Championships and World Cup of Hockey titles– and most importantly, is a loving husband and father to his wife and three children.
After Saturday’s loss, Bergeron gave no indication as to whether he would play next season or retire as it’s much too soon to rush to any decision.
Antti Raanta (3-2, 2.37 goals-against average, .926 save percentage in five games played) delivered a 27-save performance on 29 shots faced in the win for the Hurricanes, while Jeremy Swayman (3-2, 2.64 goals-against average, .911 save percentage in five games played) made 28 saves on 31 shots against in the loss for the Bruins.
B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, fell to 36-37 in 73 Stanley Cup Playoff games behind the bench with Boston as head coach since taking over in Feb. 2017, as well as 38-41 in 79 postseason games all time with Boston (2017-present) and Washington (2003).
The B’s went 3-0 on home ice in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs and failed to record a win in four road games this postseason.
Saturday also marked the 13th career Game 7 for Bergeron, moving him to a tie for the second-most Game 7 appearances by a player in their NHL career with Patrick Roy and Scott Stevens.
Bergeron, Roy and Stevens trail Zdeno Chara for the overall record (14).
Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Jesper Frödén (lower body) remained out of the lineup for Boston due to injuries, while Cassidy made no changes to his lineup from Game 6’s, 5-2, victory in Boston to Game 7 in Raleigh.
The B’s had a long list of healthy scratches and expanded playoff roster components on Saturday, including Chris Wagner, Jack Studnicka, Marc McLaughlin, Steven Fogarty, Troy Grosenick, Josh Brown, Joona Koppanen, Matt Grzelcyk, Cameron Hughes, Jack Ahcan, Tyler Lewington, Oskar Steen, Nick Wolff, Anton Blidh, Kyle Keyser and Jakub Lauko.
Early in the opening frame, Craig Smith made a high hit on Anthony DeAngelo and was assessed a roughing infraction as a result, but rather than presenting Carolina with their first power play opportunity of the afternoon, Vincent Trocheck got in Smith’s face and also picked up a roughing minor.
The two teams skated at 4-on-4 as a result at 4:42 of the first period.
A few minutes later, however, Derek Forbort, was penalized for holding and yielded the first power play of the game to the Hurricanes at 7:41 of the first period.
Carolina failed to convert on the ensuing skater advantage, though.
Midway through the first, Connor Clifton tripped Andrei Svechnikov and Brett Pesce caught Taylor Hall with a high stick on the delayed call.
As a result, Clifton and Pesce each went to the box at 10:48 and yielded another pair of minutes at 4-on-4 for both clubs.
Late in the period, Domi shoveled a shot pass to Teuvo Teräväinen (2) in the slot for the redirection to make it, 1-0, Carolina– giving the Hurricanes the first goal in six out of seven games in the series.
Domi (3) and Jaccob Slavin (5) had the assists on Teräväinen’s goal at 18:36 of the first period.
Less than a minute later, DeAngelo took a high stick from Hall and drew blood, resulting in a four-minute double-minor infraction on the Bruins forward and a lengthy power play for the Canes at 19:02.
Entering the first intermission, the Hurricanes led, 1-0, on the scoreboard, despite trailing the Bruins, 11-10, in shots on goal.
Carolina held the advantage in blocked shots (5-3), takeaways (6-3) and hits (12-10), while Boston led in giveaways (6-3).
Both teams went, 50-50, in faceoff win percentage after one period, while only the Hurricanes had seen any time on the power play and were 0-for-2 heading into the middle frame.
The Canes had about 3:03 remaining on the skater advantage to begin the second period, however.
Boston somehow managed to kill off Hall’s double-minor, then promptly gave up a goal in the vulnerable minute after special teams play as a shot from Jordan Staal bounced off of Hampus Lindholm’s leg right to where Domi (1) was heading before guiding the loose puck into the twine behind Swayman.
Staal (3) and Brady Skjei (1) tallied the assists as a result and the Hurricanes took a, 2-0, lead at 3:14 of the second period.
Less than a couple minutes later, Carolina won a faceoff in their own zone but couldn’t get through the neutral zone as Charlie McAvoy made a play to steal the puck and move it up to Bergeron as the Bruins re-entered the attacking zone.
Bergeron spun and flung a pass intended for McAvoy as the B’s defender pinched in from the point, but the puck was just a touch too hot to handle as McAvoy instead deflected it towards the high slot where Jake DeBrusk (2) gathered a quick shot over Raanta’s glove side– cutting Carolina’s lead in half in the process.
McAvoy (4) and Bergeron (4) had the assists on DeBrusk’s goal and Boston trailed, 2-1, at 5:04 of the second period as a result.
Midway through the middle frame, however, the Hurricanes answered and re-extended their lead to two-goals.
After Trent Frederic rang the iron in the other end, the Canes worked the puck deep into their attacking zone before Teräväinen worked a pass to Domi (2) for a one-timer goal.
Teräväinen (5) and Slavin (6) notched the assists on Domi’s second goal of the game and the Hurricanes took a, 3-1, lead at 10:33 of the second period.
Through 40 minutes of action, Carolina led, 3-1, and was in control with a, 21-18, advantage in shots on goal, including an, 11-7, advantage in the second period alone.
The Hurricanes also led in blocked shots (13-4), takeaways (11-4) and faceoff win% (51-49), while the Bruins led in giveaways (14-6) and hits (27-24).
Carolina was 0-for-3 on the power play, while Boston had yet to see time on the skater advantage heading into the final frame.
Brendan Smith sent an errant puck over the glass and out of play for an automatic delay of game minor at 13:33 of the third period.
The Bruins promptly went 6-for-29 on the power play this postseason as they failed to convert on skater advantage while Smith was in the box.
With 2:55 remaining in the action, Carolina thought they scored though the call on the ice was “no goal” and video review was inconclusive, thereby rendering the call on the ice as canon.
With 2:41 left in the game, Cassidy pulled Swayman for an extra attacker.
Boston tried and tried, but they couldn’t establish zone time for long enough until a pass that was almost intercepted shattered the stick blade of a Hurricanes defender and bounced off the far boards.
Hall worked the puck to McAvoy before McAvoy setup David Pastrnak (3) for the one-timer blast on Raanta’s blocker side to bring the Bruins to within one with 21.7 seconds remaining.
McAvoy (5) and Hall (2) had the assists on Pastrnak’s goal as Boston trailed, 3-2, and used their timeout at 19:39 of the third period.
They didn’t have enough to muster an improbable tie to end regulation, however, despite several attempts in the dying seconds.
At the final horn, the Hurricanes had won, 3-2, and clinched the series in seven games, 4-3.
Carolina left their own ice leading in shots on goal, 31-29, despite Boston outshooting the Canes, 11-10, in the third period alone.
The Hurricanes finished Saturday’s effort leading in blocked shots (16-14) and faceoff win% (52-48), while the Bruins left PNC Arena leading in giveaways (18-11) and hits (40-35).
Neither team managed to score a power-play goal in Game 7 as the Hurricanes went 0-for-3 and the Bruins went 0-for-1 on the skater advantage.
Boston fell to 2-27 when trailing a best-of-seven series 2-0.
The B’s also fell to 15-14 in 29 Game 7 appearances, as well as 1-5 in six Game 7 appearances on the road.
The Canes, meanwhile, improved to 6-3 in nine Game 7 appearances overall, as well as 3-0 in three Game 7 matchups on home ice and 6-0 in a Game 7 since relocating from Hartford.
The Hurricanes advanced to the Second Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs after eliminating the Bruins in seven games.
This will be Carolina’s second appearance in the Second Round in as many years which is a first in franchise history— dating back to their time as the Hartford Whalers from 1979-97.