Stanley Cup Playoffs Takeaways: Hurricanes-Bruins gets chippy, Wild back on track

Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind'Amour says "you can't get any more obvious" that the Boston Bruins were deliberately trying to target their goalies in Game 2, which resulted in the Antti Raanta injury.

The Carolina Hurricanes took a page out of Pittsburgh’s Game 1 playbook by earning a clutch win whilst needing to turn to a third-string goaltender midway through a dramatic, fan-friendly playoff contest.

The Boston Bruins were enjoying a strong start to Wednesday’s Game 2, generating several decent scoring chances on an early power play opportunity, but the momentum shifted to Carolina’s favour after David Pastrnak trucked Hurricanes starter Antti Raanta.

Pastrnak held his hands out while crashing the Hurricanes net and contacted Raanta’s head. Raanta, who made 35 saves and was named No. 1 star of Game 1, headed to the locker room just 7:47 into the opening frame and the team announced he wouldn’t return.

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The Bruins forward was initially assessed an elbowing major that was changed to a roughing minor following review.

“I don’t get how it’s a two-minute minor when our goalie’s out,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said on the broadcast. “Doesn’t seem right but whatever.”

The game took on a more physical tone after the collision. Harder hits, more frequent hits, and constant post-whistle scrums that got more intense and lasted right until the final buzzer sounded.

Charlie McAvoy laid out a pair of Canes with clean open-ice hits and Andrei Svechnikov ended Hampus Lindholm’s night with a devastating hit behind the Bruins net.

“You never want to see guys get hurt,” Brind’Amour added after the game. “I don’t like seeing our goalie get taken out either. But one was legal, one was not, if you really want to break it down.”

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Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, meanwhile, told reporters he didn’t “think there was any intent there at all” when asked about Pastrnak’s hit on Raanta.


With Raanta out and Carolina’s No. 1 goalie Frederik Andersen still recovering from an injury, it meant rookie Pyotr Kochetkov was forced into his first Stanley Cup Playoffs action.

The 22-year-old passed his initial post-season test with flying colours similarly to how Louis Domingue made headlines for the Penguins the night prior – albeit under slightly different circumstances, one being in the middle of double OT and all.

Kochetkov made four saves in the opening period in relief and ended up stopping an additional 26 pucks over the final two periods as the Hurricanes secured a 5-2 win and 2-0 series lead.

After splitting the 2021-22 campaign between KHL’s Nizhny Novgorod Torpedo and the Chicago Wolves in the AHL the 2019 second-round pick was called up to Carolina in late April with Andersen out.

Kochetkov has yet to lose at the NHL level after going 3-0-0 in the regular season.

He ended up outperforming his counterpart at the other end of the ice as Linus Ullmark allowed four goals in a game first time since the beginning of March. It is entirely possible the Bruins turn to Jeremy Swayman in Game 3.

Kochetkov showed he’s willing to get in the mud and mix it up, too. He and Brad Marchand received offsetting slashing calls late in the second period as you can see in the video clip at the top of the page.

“We know how he is. He’s always smiling, he’s always in a good mood,” Sebastian Aho, who scored twice Wednesday, told ESPN at the second intermission. “He’s a great goalie and he’s been clutch for us.”

Also, stick tap to Svechnikov for doubling as his team’s translator for Kochetkov who doesn’t speak English. Svechnikov and Kochetkov are the only two Russian players on the Hurricanes.


The optimistic playoff adage that goes “you’re not in trouble until you lose at home” neglects to mention the fact that nearly 87 per cent of NHL teams that fall behind 0-2 in a series end up losing. The Bruins have an uphill climb as the series shifts to Boston.

They did finally solve Carolina’s league-best penalty kill when Patrice Bergeron scored his first of two goals. Bergeron was the only Bruin to score on Carolina during the regular season and that goal also came on the PP.

However, the Hurricanes had an overall dominant showing on special teams yet again.

Boston’s power play was putrid down the stretch scoring on only three of their previous 46 attempts with the man advantage prior to Game 2. They could only capitalize on one of their five PP chances Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Carolina scored two goals with the man advantage when Aho and Nino Niederreiter each notched their second of the post-season.

Marchand recorded the lone assist on Bergeron’s second-period goal but the pesky forward only has one goal in the past month. He had 30 goals at the end of March but finished the season with 32.

Carolina has won all five meetings with Boston by at least three goals, scoring at least five goals in four of them. The current aggregate score between the teams this season is 26-4.


Getting blanked in Game 1 was a wake-up call for the Minnesota Wild. They couldn’t take advantage of their scoring chances and an 0-for-6 showing with the man advantage was among the main reasons for the loss and it was something they aimed to correct for Wednesday.

Minnesota did exactly that by scoring on two of their three power-play opportunities in a 6-2 win that evened their series with the St. Louis Blues at 1-1.

The Wild didn’t register a shot on goal in Game 2 until Joel Eriksson Ek beat Ville Husso midway through the first period. The Wild’s second shot of the game also went in the net less than four minutes later.

Minnesota was 38-0-1 this season in games during which they held a two-goal lead at any point, so being up 3-0 after 20 minutes should’ve given them plenty of confidence.

The team’s first shot in the second period also resulted in a goal. This time it was a wonderful dangle in tight from Eriksson Ek.

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Eriksson Ek thought he had registered the first playoff hattrick in Wild history, however, he had a third goal waved off after to an offside challenge. Thankfully for the many fans who unceremoniously tossed their hats onto the Xcel Energy Center ice, Kiril Kapri completed a hat trick of his own not much later.

It was the first playoff hat trick in Wild franchise history.

Blues forward David Perron had a hatty in Game 1. Who’s scoring thrice in Game 3 on Friday?

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