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After a tightly-contested start, Carolina broke through with a Teuvo Teravainen goal with 1:24 minutes left in the first period, burying a pass from Jacob Slavin.
To start the second, the Hurricanes failed to convert on a 4-minute powerplay, but scored immediately afterwards, when Max Domi found the back of the net. The Bruins responded with one of their own just two minutes later off the stick of Jacob Debrusk to cut the lead to 2-1. Domi, who was acquired in a midseason trade, doubled the lead midway through the period with his second of the game.
The Bruins were the aggressors through most of the third period, applying pressure as they tried to breakthrough. After the Bruins pulled goalie Jeremy Swayman for an extra attacker, David Pastrnak scored with 21.4 seconds remaining to make it 3-2. The Canes defense and goalie Antti Ranta were able to fend off a final push, securing a 3-2 win.
“It’s just about as good as when we won the Cup,” said one fan of the atmosphere inside.
“We have the best heart in the league. We have the best team in the league. And guess what, we’re coming for the Stanley Cup,” added another.
Rain pre-game did little to dissuade the usual tailgating scene in the parking lot.
“We’ve got a little chicken nuggets, some salsa fresh, this actually goes back to ’06 this was our lucky meal that we bring to every playoff game. So far, it’s been good,” Canes fan Scott Cruikshank said.
The Canes recent success has helped grow the team’s fanbase in the area.
“Last four years, some of these are all new fans right. So you’re getting all the kids up, it’s awesome,” said Cruikshank.
2006 Stanley Cup champion Aaron Ward was the pre-game Siren Sounder, helping amp up the crowd.
“It definitely elicits that type of gut reaction of realizing that everything’s on the line, and you’re not even playing,” Ward said.
He credited the Canes management for helping construct what’s been one of the NHL’s top rosters over the past few seasons in helping spur enthusiasm.
“Everybody shows up. They’re very supportive. It’s a constant topic in the community. Honestly you can’t escape it,” said Ward.
The Hurricanes will play the winner of the Rangers-Penguins series, which will be decided Sunday night in Game 7 at Madison Square Garden. The schedule for Round 2 has not yet been announced, though Carolina will have home-ice advantage.
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