Well, that was definitely a playoff hockey game.
The Hurricanes grabbed hold of a 2-0 series lead over the Bruins Wednesday night in PNC Arena with a 5-2 win, coming out on top in a game that featured plenty of animosity and 22 combined penalties.
Carolina jumped out to a 3-0 lead early in the second period, as Jesper Fast’s game-opening goal was followed by two from Sebastian Aho. Nino Niederreiter scored the other two goals for the Canes, as Carolina was too much to handle for a Bruins team that got two from Patrice Bergeron.
Carolina was dealt a big injury blow in the first period, as starting goaltender Antti Raanta got run over by David Pastrnak and was forced to exit the contest. Rookie netminder Pyotr Kochetkov came in and performed well, stopping 30 of 32 shots faced to beat Linus Ullmark.
The first period was a wonderful and wild display of playoff hockey, as hits were flying, tempers were flaring and the Canes were scoring.
The game started out in a pretty similar way to game one, as Boston came out of the gate the better team as the Bs were buzzing in the early going. Boston had a strong, but scoreless, power play early as well.
The Hurricanes took a big blow in the first seconds of Boston’s second power play of the night, as David Pastrnak ran full speed into Raanta. The Canes’ netminder immediately went to the ice with an apparent cut around the head, and he wouldn’t return as Kochetkov came in.
And as Kochetkov entered the game, the team on the ice in front of him stepped up big time. The Canes suddenly took control and dominated the rest of the first period, as the rookie in net had to make just four saves.
Fast opened up the scoring on a beautiful, hard-earned goal for the Jordan Staal line. Fast made a great effort play on the forecheck to keep the puck in the zone for the Canes. Staal eventually laced a crisp cross-ice pass to Fast, who blasted the opener past Ullmark.
Aho made it a 2-0 game a couple minutes later, as the Canes got all the traffic in the world in front of Ullmark to double the lead. Tony DeAngelo rifled a shot from the point through a double screen of Jaccob Slavin and Aho, and it was the Finnish center who got the stick on it for the redirect.
Another look at Aho's goal because it's that gorgeous pic.twitter.com/FlTDXq9giv— Bally Sports: Canes (@CanesOnBally) May 4, 2022
The first period ended with some shenanigans on the ice on a couple occasions, as penalties came pouring in in the final 15 seconds.
The end result was a minute of 5-on-3 time for the Hurricanes to start the second period, and Aho made it a three-goal game on the regular power play shortly after the two-man advantage had come to an end.
This goal was an absolute laser blast from Aho, who had sealed the fourth multi-goal game of his young playoff career, the most in franchise history.
The back half of the second period turned into utter chaos, as the two teams combined for seven penalties in the last six minutes to bring the game total to 17 at the second intermission.
The Bruins got one goal back on their lone power play of the second period, as a third or fourth effort from Bergeron finally got one past Kochetkov after a pretty soft call went against Andrei Svechnikov.
After that, things completely broke wide open, as there were a number of post-whistle skirmishes that led to penalties, including a little battle between Kochetkov and Brad Marchand.
One of those post-whistle scrums came in the aftermath of a MASSIVE hit from Svechnikov, who flattened Hampus Lindholm.
The Canes added another goal to their lead in the aftermath of more penalties, as Carolina got its second 5-on-3 of the game and converted. It was Niederreiter who ended up tucking the goal in, though Aho came inches from finishing off his hat trick.
The third period featured more of the same, as the penalties continued to pile up and things stayed pretty heated.
The Canes burned five minutes on the power play, though couldn’t find a goal, as things settled down quite a bit.
Boston got one back to make things interesting with about eight minutes left, though, as Bergeron got a deflection past Kochetkov to make it a two-goal game.
The Bruins continued to surge after Bergeron brought some new life into the contest, forcing Kochetkov to make a few big saves to keep it at two goals. Kochetkov was up for the challenge, though, stopping anything that went his way.
Niederreiter put the game to bed with less than a minute to play, tallying on the empty net after Aho missed out on his hat trick with near full-ice misses twice.
Now the series will shift north to Boston, as the Hurricanes will look to carry their momentum on the road.