It was Max Domi’s day and the Carolina Hurricanes’ game Saturday.
And the Boston Bruins no longer are a playoff threat to the Canes.
The Hurricanes, sharp from the start in Game 7, turned back the Bruins 3-2 to end a hard-fought series that had many ebbs and flows.
Domi, a late-season addition for the Canes, had the first two playoff goals of his career and added an assist — a three-point game in the biggest game of the season to date.
Teuvo Teravainen had a goal and assist for the Canes, who scored first and never trailed in winning for the fourth straight time at PNC Arena.
The Bruins were playoff spoilers for the Hurricanes in 2019 and again in 2020 — the bruising team the Canes couldn’t seem to beat. That’s now history, as Canes coach Rod Brind’Amour likes to say.
The Canes will face the winner of the Pittsburgh-New York Rangers series and will host the first two games. The Penguins and Rangers have their own Game 7 on Sunday.
The Bruins fought until the end, pulling goalie Jeremy Swayman and getting a David Pastrnak goal with 20.5 seconds remaining in the third. But the Canes would not allow a tying goal, swarming around their goalie, Antti Raanta and then going through a hard-earning handshake line with the Bruins.
Domi, in his seventh season in the league, had been a part of the Stanley Cup playoffs only once before this season — with Montreal last year, when he had three assists in the Canadiens’ 10 games.
Traded to the Canes on March 21 from Columbus, he had two goals and five assists in 19 games, bouncing from line to line and getting adjusted to the system of Brind’Amour.
But Saturday was his day.
In 2019, Brock McGinn had the winning goal in the second overtime against Washington, batting in a pass from Justin Williams. That got the Canes out of the first round and eliminated the Caps, the 2018 Stanley Cup champions.
The Canes-Bruins series was all about home ice. The Canes, as Metropolitan Division winners, had the first two games at home and won. The Bruins then won two at home. The Canes won Game 5 at PNC Arena and the Bruins took Game 6 in Boston to force a deciding game.
Brind’Amour said he had no explanation for it, but did mention the energy of the home crowd. And things were loud – again – Saturday with the record crowd.
Game 7s often are much about moments as anything, and this Game 7 had its share.
It was Raanta going post to post in the first period to deny Taylor Hall on the rush.
It was Slavin and Marchand waging a one-on-one battle for the puck along the wall in the first, and Slavin winning.
It was Slavin’s pass that set up the game’s first goal in the first period. Spotting Domi to Swayman’s left, Slavin, from the left point, got the puck through traffic to Domi, who made the quick touch pass to Teravainen for the score.
Late in the first, it was Hall getting his stick up high on DeAngelo, who was bloodied and sent Hall in the penalty box for four minutes.
In the second period, it was Domi winning a battle along the wall, then going to the front of the net. Jordan Staal redirected a Brady Skjei shot and Domi was there to finish it off for a 2-0 lead.
And Domi wasn’t through. Before the period was over, he took a pass in the slot from Teravainen as he went down to one knee on the release.