Hurricanes top Devils in OT, onto conference final

    Greg Wyshynski is ESPN’s senior NHL writer.

The Carolina Hurricanes eliminated the New Jersey Devils in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference second-round series, winning 3-2 in overtime in Raleigh on Thursday night.

Jesper Fast deflected a Jesperi Kotkaniemi shot past Devils goalie Akira Schmid on the power play at 7:09 of overtime for the series-clinching win. The Hurricanes earned the overtime power play after Devils defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler was penalized for delay of game after sending the puck over the glass from the defensive end. It was Fast’s fifth goal of the playoffs.

The Hurricanes await the winner of the Florida Panthers vs. Toronto Maple Leafs series. The Panthers lead 3-1 heading into Game 5 in Toronto on Friday night.

New Jersey was making its first appearance in the second round since 2012, following the most success regular season in franchise history (.683 points percentage). The young Devils, led by 21-year-old star Jack Hughes, defeated the rival New York Rangers in seven games before falling to the Hurricanes.

This is Carolina’s first trip to the conference final since 2019. There were concerns about their offense coming into the playoffs. Wingers Max Pacioretty and Andrei Svechnikov were out with injuries while Teuvo Teravainen was lost to injury after two games against the New York Islanders in the first round.

But rather than relying on their defense, the Hurricanes entered Game 5 tied for third in the playoffs in goals per game (3.70). They scored at least three goals in seven of their 11 playoff games.

The Devils took a 1-0 lead in the first period as winger Timo Meier hit Dawson Mercer with a cross ice pass in front of the Carolina net. Mercer knocked it home for his third of the playoffs at 15:06.

The Hurricanes struck back against goalie Akira Schmid, making his first start since Game 2 in Raleigh. Defenseman Jaccob Slavin’s long shot deflected en route to Schmid and bounced through him for the 1-1 tie, just 50 seconds into the second period.

Meier earned another point on a power-play goal, smacking the puck through Fredrick Andersen (27 saves) on the power play after a Dougie Hamilton shot. The Devils had a 2-1 lead at 7:15 of the second period.

But defenseman Brent Burns tied the game with 38 seconds remaining in the second period, beating a screened Schmid to make it 2-2.

The Devils had their opportunities to score more, as Meier, Nathan Bastian and Ondrej Palat all missed on high-danger chances against Andersen. But they couldn’t convert, the game went to overtime and the Hurricanes advance.

Source: Read Full Article