So much for the value of playoff experience.
Nine-year NHL veteran Antti Raanta made 35 saves in his first postseason start, and rookie Seth Jarvis had a goal and an assist as the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the visiting Boston Bruins 5-1 Monday in the opener of their first-round Eastern Conference series.
Game 2 is scheduled for Wednesday night in Raleigh, N.C.
“I just don’t know how much (experience) matters at this time of year sometimes,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “The young guy (Jarvis) looked fine, certainly didn’t look out of place. And Raants looked great. So check the box there, for sure.”
Jarvis, who closed the regular season on a seven-game points streak, opened the scoring at 16:28 of the second period, tipping Jaccob Slavin’s shot past Boston goalie Linus Ullmark. Nino Neiderreiter tallied at 18:38 to give the Hurricanes a two-goal lead heading into the third period.
The Bruins pulled within 2-1 on a goal by Taylor Hall early in the third, but Teuvo Teravainen, Vincent Trocheck and Andrei Svechnikov scored as Carolina pulled away.
“I think the longer the game went on, the better we got going,” Niederreiter said.
Raanta had played in five career playoff games entering this series — all in relief.
He got the starting nod with No. 1 goalie Frederik Andersen still out with a lower-body injury that forced him to miss the final six games of the regular season.
“For me, I was just trying to focus on the things, how I’ve been able to be successful and what I’ve been doing to get to this point,” Raanta said. “It was working nicely, but it’s only one game, one win, and now it’s just regrouping and getting ready for Wednesday.”
The Bruins eliminated the Hurricanes in the playoffs in two of the past three seasons, but those were with Tuukka Rask in net. He retired after trying unsuccessfully to come back from offseason hip surgery.
Ullmark, signed as a free agent from Buffalo, made 20 saves in his first postseason appearance.
“We’re not going to put anything on Ullmark,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Whatever goalie’s in there for us, you’ve got to fight to find pucks in this series. I thought it was the same at the other end early on.
“Raanta was fighting to find them, there were some rebounds there, we just didn’t capitalize.”
The Bruins, who were swept in the three-game regular-season series against the Hurricanes by a 16-1 margin, will need to find some answers fast.
“They do play a really good playoff-style of hockey, and I’m sure that they’re really looking forward to trying to beat the Bruins,” Hall said. “It’s been a couple series now that (haven’t) gone their way, and they play playoff hockey, so it’s going to be a long series no matter what happened (Monday).”
Cassidy has already announced Ullmark will remain in net in Game 2.
“You know it’s gonna come down to some lucky bounces here and there and that’s hockey,” Ullmark said. “At the end of the day, it’s all about stopping pucks. It doesn’t matter how you do it. I have to stop one more than (Raanta) to win the game. It’s as easy as that.”
–Field Level Media