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Unlikely hero Max Domi scores twice as Carolina Hurricanes win Game 7 and eliminate Boston Bruins

The Carolina Hurricanes are heading to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs after beating the visiting Boston Bruins 3-2 in Game 7 of their first-round series on Saturday.

Max Domi, an in-season acquisition, scored twice and had three points to lead the Hurricanes. Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak scored for Boston.

Carolina’s next opponent will be the winner of Sunday’s Game 7 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers.

Home ice ended up being a major factor in the series. For only the ninth time in NHL playoff history, the host team has won every game. Boston hadn’t lost in the first round since 2016-17, reaching at least the semifinals in three of the past four seasons and making a Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2018-19.

Carolina and Boston had also met in two of the last three playoffs before this one, and it was the Bruins who eliminated both times (in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2018-19 and in the second round of the COVID-19 tournament of 2020-21). The Hurricanes’ third down proved to be the charm, where they could ultimately send Boston to an early offseason instead.

It was not, however, an easy road. Carolina played the entire series without starting goaltender Frederik Andersen (lower body injury) and in Game 2, Boston forward David Pastrnak ran into Andersen’s replacement Antti Raanta and sent him off with an illness from the upper body. Rookie Pyotr Kochetkov stepped in to make his NHL playoff debut and back the Hurricanes to victory.

For Game 3, Boston made a crucial goalie change from Linus Ullmark (.860 SV%, 4.16 GAA in Games 1 and 2) to rookie Jeremy Swayman and won the next two games by combined score. of 9-4.

The Hurricanes stormed back for an emphatic victory in Game 5 (when Boston was without top defenseman Charlie McAvoy due to a COVID-19 diagnosis), only to be snuffed out by the Bruins’ offense in Game 6 ( for which McAvoy returned).

Neither Swayman nor Raanta had ever appeared in a Game 7 before. And both goalkeepers would be tested from the start of a fast-paced first half.

The Hurricanes and Bruins traded chances there until Teuvo Teravainen finally buried a backdoor puck on Swayman in the final 90 seconds.

Trailing 1-0, Boston couldn’t get out of bounds before Taylor Hall was assessed a double-minor high-sticking penalty. The Bruins’ shorthanded arrived — and Swayman made several big saves — to knock Hall out of the box, only for Domi to slip behind Bruins coverage and extend Carolina’s lead to 2-0.

It was Domi’s first career playoff goal, and it wouldn’t be the last.

After DeBrusk let a puck go past Raanta to cut the Bruins’ deficit by one point, Domi called again to make it 3-1 midway through the second.

Boston was 1-13-0 this season despite dropping multiple goals in two periods. This record would not improve, although Pastrnak added another goal with 20 seconds left in regulation time.

It was then too little, too late for the Bruins to extend their season.


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