The Carolina Hurricanes throttled the New Jersey Devils in the first game of the second round. It was a thorough throttling. (Note: I’m covering the Devils this postseason. It’s no longer a bit. This is my calling)
It was all Hurricanes in the first. Brett Pesce kicked it off with a goal right after an offensive-zone faceoff win. Five minutes later, Seth Jarvis made it 2-0 on a breakaway.
The Canes kept pushing early in the second period with an easy one for Jesperi Kotkaniemi that we’ll talk about below. New Jersey showed signs of life as Nate Bastian got a lucky puck along the blue line and carried it in for an easy goal.
Ten minutes into the third period, Brady Skjei made it 4-1 with a one-timer from the faceoff dot. Jesper Fast got the empty-netter, and it was done.
Canes win 5-1. Canes lead the series 1-0.
— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights (@HockeyDaily365) May 3, 2023
— CJ Fogler account may or may not be notable (@cjzero) May 4, 2023
I was wondering how the best breakout in the league (New Jersey’s) would fare against the best forecheck in the league (Carolina’s). I have my answer: Carolina wins. They cowed the Devils in the first period to a degree with which I’d be unfamiliar if I hadn’t seen the Devils do the same thing in the first period of the first game of the first round.
If a playoff series is a chess match – and I’m not convinced it is – Brind’Amour’s opening gambit was a success. His is a well-coached team, executing a coherent plan every shift, no matter who is on the ice. Lindy Ruffs needs to counter; he can’t just rely on overwhelming talent – which is what I worry he did last round.
Headline photo: @MichaelSmithNC
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