Hurricanes to play Rangers or Penguins in Eastern Second Round

The Carolina Hurricanes will play the New York Rangers or Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Second Round.

Carolina eliminated the Boston Bruins with a 3-2 win in Game 7 of the first round at PNC Arena on Saturday.

“It’s relief, the first round for me is always the most emotional,” coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “It’s always the one that’s the most intense and then you’re like, this goes on for, you’re hoping, another month and a half. It sucks out a little bit of everybody as it goes along. So sometimes getting through the first round is actually the toughest because it’s so emotional and then the next round will be emotional, but I think it kind of dies down a little bit as you go along.

“So getting through this round sometimes is huge in that regard. And then now it’s just getting refocused. That will be the next challenge.”

The Hurricanes, the No. 1 seed from the Metropolitan Division, will have home-ice advantage against the Rangers, the No. 2 seed from the Metropolitan, or the Penguins, the No. 3 seed. That best-of-7 series is tied with Game 7 at Madison Square Garden on Sunday (7 pm ET; TBS, SN360, SNE, SNO, SNP, MSG, ATTSN-PT).

Defensemen Tony DeAngelo (one goal, seven assists) and Jaccob Slavin (two goals, six assists) led the Hurricanes with eight points in the first round, and center Vincent Trocheck (three goals, four assists) and forward Teuvo Teravainen (two goals, five assists) each had seven. Forward Max Domi had two goals and an assist in Game 7 to finish with five points (two goals, three assists), as did centers Sebastian Aho (two goals, three assists) and Seth Jarvis (three goals, two assists).

Goalie Antti Raanta won three of the four games against the Bruins, and rookie Pyotr Kochetkov was 1-1 with a 3.31 goals-against average and .900 save percentage. Frederik Andersen did not play in the series because of a lower-body injury he sustained on April 16.

Carolina was 2-1-0 against Pittsburgh during the regular season. Center Jordan Staal had four points (three goals, one assist) against the Penguins, and Aho (two goals, one assist) and Teravainen (three assists) each had three. Raanta started all three games, allowing seven goals on 78 shots (2.31 GAA, .910 save percentage).

Center Sidney Crosby, who did not play in Game 6 against the Rangers because of an upper-body injury, led the Penguins with four points (three goals, one assist) against the Hurricanes. Forwards Bryan Rust (one goal, two assists) and Jake Guentzel (one goal, two assists), and defenseman Kris Letang (three assists) each had three points.

Goalie Louis Dominguewho has started the past five games for Pittsburgh against New York, did not play against the Hurricanes during the regular season. Tristan Jarry was 1-1-0 with a 3.07 GAA and .918 save percentage, and Casey DeSmith was 0-0-1 with a 2.86 GAA and .929 save percentage. Jarry, who has not played in the first round because of a lower-body injury, is day to day. DeSmith is out for the playoffs after having core muscle surgery May 6.

Carolina was 3-1-0 against New York, with Aho leading the team with seven points (three goals, four assists). Trocheck (two goals, two assists), Jarvis (two goals, two assists), forward Andrei Svechnikov (one goal, three assists) and defenseman Brady Skjei (four assists) each had four points.

Andersen was 2-1-0 with a 2.01 GAA and .914 save percentage against the Rangers, and Kochetkov made 31 saves in a 4-3 win on April 26. Raanta, who played for the Rangers from 2015-17, has played one career game against New York, a 2-1 shootout loss on Jan. 6, 2018, as a member of the Arizona Coyotes.

Forward Chris Kreider led the Rangers with six points (four goals, two assists) and scored a goal in each of the four regular-season games. Center Mika Zibanejad had five points (one goal, four assists), and defenseman K’Andre Miller and forward Frank Vatrano each had one goal and two assists.

Igor Shesterkin was 0-2-0 with a 3.63 GAA and .883 save percentage. Alexandar Georgiev was 1-1-0 with a 3.01 GAA, .924 save percentage and one shutout.

“It is what it is. We’ll play either one. Both [are] good teams. A playoff series, I guess, against Pittsburgh would be different, for sure … but I think it would be exciting, “said Staal, who played his first six NHL seasons with the Penguins and was a part of their 2009 Stanley Cup championship. team. “Either team are going to be tough opponents. We’re excited to just be moving on. ”

The Hurricanes, who advanced to the second round for the third time in four seasons, have faced the Penguins once in the playoffs, getting swept in the 2009 Eastern Conference Final. They defeated the Rangers in three games in the best-of-5 Stanley Cup Qualifiers in 2020.

NHL.com staff writer Amalie Benjamin contributed to this report

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