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 visiting 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, N.C.
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.
Seth Jarvis (<a href=”https://twitter.com/jarvy44?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@jarvy44</a>) smashed the turbo button on this one. 🎮 <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/StanleyCup?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#StanleyCup</a> <br><br>2-0 <a href=”https://twitter.com/Canes?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@Canes</a> after 20! <br><br>🇺🇸: <a href=”https://twitter.com/espn?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@espn</a> ➡️ <a href=”https://t.co/QbbRkrL7aw”>https://t.co/QbbRkrL7aw</a><br>🇨🇦: <a href=”https://twitter.com/Sportsnet?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@Sportsnet</a> ➡️ <a href=”https://t.co/uEVY6yYjf7″>https://t.co/uEVY6yYjf7</a> <a href=”https://t.co/fNtTsDCOd2″>pic.twitter.com/fNtTsDCOd2</a>
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 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.