Carolina goalie Antti Raanta was a difference-maker in Game 1.
Carolina goalie Antti Raanta was a difference-maker in Game 1.@Canes on Twitter

Wednesday NHL Playoffs, Bruins vs Hurricanes: Dylan Spilko looks at what happened in Game 1, picks Game 2

Game 2: Boston Bruins at Carolina Hurricanes (Carolina leads 1-0), 7 pm EDT

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The Carolina Hurricanes came away with a four-goal victory in Game 1 of its seven-game series in the first round of the NHL playoffs against the Boston Bruins on Monday night.

It’s time to look ahead to Game 2.

Game 2: Boston Bruins at Carolina Hurricanes (Carolina leads 1-0), 7 pm EDT

The Hurricanes dominated the third period of Game 1 with the final 20 minutes ultimately lifting the home side over the visitor Bruins, 5-1. Carolina tallied two late goals in the second period to break the ice, then outscored Boston 3-1 in the third to capture a one-game lead in the best-of-seven series.

It was a quality win for the Hurricanes, who managed the victory despite being out-shot 36-25. Carolina stifled Boston on both ends of the ice even with the glaring shot difference, especially in transition. The Hurricanes limited the Bruins’ odd-man rushes and gave back-up goalie Antti Raanta plenty of goal support.

Raanta might’ve been the story of the night for the Metropolitan Division’s top team. With all-star caliber goalie Frederik Andersen sidelined with a lower-body injury, Raanta did more than just fill in the crease. The netminder sent aside 35 of 36 shot attempts, with the only Boston goal coming in the third period off the stick of left winger Taylor Hall. Andersen has been deemed as “highly unlikely” to play in Game 2, per ESPN’s Emily Kaplan, but Raanta proved that he’s a quality goaltender who can hold his own.

Depth scoring also aided Carolina in the win. Twelve different skaters recorded at least one point for the Hurricanes with four of the team’s six defensemen contributing with one assist.

Looking at Boston’s side, there wasn’t much to be encouraged about. 28-year-old Swedish goalie Linus Ullmark surrendered four goals on just 24 shots against, giving him an abysmal .833 save percentage. A few of Ullmark’s goals came through traffic, but the icing on the cake came when center Vincent Trochek caught Boston’s goalie off-guard and roofed one top-shelf from a ridiculous angle to seal the game with three minutes left.

On top of shaky goaltending, Boston’s star veterans weren’t able to make much of a game-changing impact. Center Patrice Bergeron, left winger Brad Marchand and right winger David Pastrnak were all a combined -6 on the ice. The Bruins need more out of their goaltending and top performers if they wish to keep up with a Carolina team that has a scheme that plays perfectly into the style of playoff hockey.

The Game 1 win improved Carolina’s total home record to 30-8-4 in 2021-22. Despite the lopsided total on the scoreboard, the Hurricanes remain just a slight favorite in the second game of the series. Near-even odds on one of the best home teams in the NHL, especially after an energizing Game 1 home win, should spark interest.

I don’t believe there’s a reason to overthink this one even with the line that’s being offered. I expect Carolina to edge out Boston in Game 2 to take a commanding 2-0 series lead before the series switches venues.

The pick: Carolina Hurricanes moneyline (-120)

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