After two pretty unsightly games in Boston that saw the Bruins tie up the series at 2-2, the Carolina Hurricanes returned to home ice Tuesday night and absolutely dominated.
The Canes beat the Bruins 5-1 to take a 3-2 series lead, the third home game of the series in which Carolina has put five goals on the board.
Antti Raanta was exceptional, Seth Jarvis showed maturity well beyond his years and the Canes fixed some of their biggest problems from games three and four to show they could definitely still play their own brand of hockey.
About last night:
By far the biggest issue for the Hurricanes in Boston was their ability to stay out of the penalty box, as special teams proved costly in both games three and four as the Bruins went on the power play 14 times between those two games.
Tuesday night the Hurricanes committed just three penalties, keeping Boston scoreless with the man advantage while Carolina itself netted two on the power play.
“The penalties got us out of our game last game,” said Tony DeAngelo. “When you take nine penalties, you’re not going to have success. We come back tonight and even the penalties we took could go either way. I think we had three. When we’re on our game 5-on-5, we’re very confident that we’re going to come out on top. We were all over the puck. We were above the puck so much tonight. That’s the way you’ve got to do it.”
Special teams are always important, and there’s no better case study of that than this series so far.
Staying out of the box was a HUGE emphasis for the Hurricanes coming out of game four, and for the most part they were able to accomplish that goal.
“It’s so important,” said Rod Brind’Amour. “We’ve beat this to death. It was nice that we only had to kill a couple. It only ended up being three. Still three too many, but it was nice that the power play got going a little bit. That was a big part of the game.”
The kid is unphased
The 2021-22 journey of Seth Jarvis is pretty ridiculous.
A rookie who really wasn’t even supposed to factor into the plans this season has taken over, scoring playoff goals on the top line and on the power play as the Hurricanes square off with the team that has knocked them out of the postseason in two of the last three seasons.
And he’s completely unphased by it all.
“You would never believe that he is so young with the way he plays,” said Antti Raanta. “He goes to the net. He’s always there. That’s why he scored those goals. He’s getting to the net and getting to those dirty areas.”
Jarvis scored both of his game five goals at the net, winning battles (and getting some fortunate bounces) to produce in the crease.
And let’s be honest, Jarvis had every reason in the world to be hesitant of that after taking a rifled puck into a not-so-fun area in game four.
“No. I don’t care,” Jarvis said. “If I get hit again, I get hit again. Well, I say that now. But if I get hit again...”
Jarvis has been an absolute revelation for the Hurricanes this season, and he’s getting better and better and more and more mature as the season goes along.
If the Hurricanes find themselves in a champagne celebration later on this postseason, Jarvis won’t be involved. That’s how young he is. It’s crazy to think that the guy skating on the top line and scoring dirty goals in the playoffs is barely 20.
“You love seeing that for anyone on your team, but for the young kid,” Brind’Amour said. “He’s earning his way in the league. He’s earning his way up the chart in every aspect of the game. I can’t say enough good things about him. I think he’s going to keep getting better. There’s a lot still to learn. He’s a young kid.”
Raanta stepping up
The Canes were dealt a big blow late in the regular season when Frederik Andersen got hurt, as their top goaltender and should-have-been Vezina finalist went down with a lower-body injury.
But the good news for the Canes there was that Raanta was almost as good this season, and when he’s played this postseason he’s been really good.
After battling a little bit of injury issues himself, Raanta was in net for game five and was absolutely excellent. He stopped 34 of 35 shots faced and made some huge saves, particularly early in the first period to keep Boston off the scoresheet and allow Carolina to get its game going.
“That’s what goaltending does,” Brind’Amour said. “We have to get those saves because you’re not going to not get chances. That team is going to generate opportunities, and they certainly did. He was good. Then we had a real good solid two periods to put us in a comfortable spot.”
Raanta made some huge stops all throughout the game, as any time Boston really got something cooking Raanta had the answer for it.
In a game where the winning team scores five goals it might be easy to look past what the goaltender did in net, but Raanta was a massive part of the Canes’ big win Tuesday night.
“He was awesome again,” Jarvis said. “It was great to see that. He played incredible. He had a couple of awesome saves. He was a big reason for that first 10 minutes of the game.”
- The Canes had a really complete performance Tuesday night, getting points from seven different guys as everyone was engaged. A big part of that was the production of the top line, as Andrei Svechnikov-Sebastian Aho-Jarvis combined for four points Tuesday after being held pointless in two games in Boston.
- Jaccob Slavin is so good at hockey. He does everything right, and he really played his absolute top game Tuesday night. Rod Brind’Amour: “I just take that for granted now at this point. I shouldn’t, but I do.”
- The Hurricanes have loved their 5-on-5 game all series, and they should. Tuesday the Hurricanes out-chanced the Bruins 30-21 and had a 2.73-2.14 xG edge while at 5-on-5. If the Canes can stay out of the box, they’re going to win this series.
- Now the challenge is doing it in Boston though, as the Canes looked a completely different team in games three and four on the road. So far this series the home team has absolutely dominated every game. But the Hurricanes are more than capable of bottling up this game five performance and taking it to the TD Garden.