Hurricanes top Devils 5-1 in Game 1 of 2nd round
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Hurricanes got goals from Brett Pesce and Seth Jarvis alongside a suffocating defensive performance in the opening period to jump quickly on the New Jersey Devils for a 5-1 win Wednesday night in the opener of their second-round playoff series.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Brady Skeji and Jesper Fast also scored for the Hurricanes, who used a swarming effort to take control that took the Devils completely out of any type of first-period flow. New Jersey managed a single shot on goal for the period compared to both Pesce and Jarvis finding the net, then Kotkaniemi followed early in the second for a 3-0 lead that chased Devils rookie goalie Akira Schmid to the bench.
Game 2 is Friday night in Raleigh.
Nathan Bastian scored for the Devils, who played this one without trade-acquisition Timo Meier following his huge hit from New York Rangers forward Jacob Trouba during Monday’s Game 7 win. Bastian’s goal came when he got loose coming into the zone to beat Andersen at 5:02 of the second period and cut the deficit to 3-1, but the Devils got not closer.
The Hurricanes went back to Frederik Andersen in net over Antti Raanta after Andersen got his first start of the playoffs in the Game 6 clincher against the New York Islanders. He finished with 18 saves, though the first part of his night was fairly calm with the Hurricanes taking away space from the Devils at every turn.
Pesce scored on a low-flying shot through traffic to beat Schmid, then Jarvis blew past Ryan Graves near the blue line to skate in and beat Schmid over his glove for the 2-0 lead that proved to be enough.
Kotkaniemi's putaway off a feed from Jordan Martinook at 1:55 of the second was enough to send Schmid to the bench after surrendering three goals on 11 shots.
Vitek Vanecek had 10 saves on 11 shots in relief.
The Hurricanes pushed into the second round after beating the New York Islanders in the first round, with the Game 6 clincher coming Friday night. That gave a team with an injury-hit bunch of forwards a few extra days to regroup, and it showed with the way Carolina established its style to play confidently in front with the backing of a loud home-ice crowd.
The Devils are in the playoffs for the first time since 2018 and won a series for the first time in 11 years. But they had less than 48 hours following the Game 7 clincher against the Rangers to get ready for Wednesday's puck drop.
This is a matchup of the top teams in the Metropolitan Division, with the Hurricanes winning their final regular-season game to edge the Devils by a point (113-112) in the standings. And with Boston gone in a first-round stunner after a record-setting regular season, the winner of this series will have home-ice advantage for the rest of the playoffs.
Carolina forward Jack Drury returned to the lineup for Game 1 after being knocked from the first-round series against the Islanders.
Drury was hurt in Game 4 after taking a jarring hit into the boards from Ryan Pulock, though he had resumed skating before the end of that series.
For the Devils, forward Jesper Boqvist was back in the lineup with Meier out. Boqvist played in five of the seven games against the Ranges, the last being the Game 6 loss.
North Carolina State football coach Dave Doeren sounded the pregame storm-warning siren for the Hurricanes to take the ice. NASCAR driver Ty Dillon and ESPN broadcaster Dari Nowkhah were on duty for the intermissions.
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Aaron Beard, The Associated Press