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NHL playoffs: Hurricanes beat Bruins; Maple Leafs blank Lightning, Blues win

Carolina Hurricanes' Vincent Trocheck reaches for the puck in front of Boston Bruins' Jake DeBrusk.
Carolina Hurricanes’ Vincent Trocheck (16) reaches for the puck in front of Boston Bruins’ Jake DeBrusk (74) during the second period of Game 1 of a first-round playoff series in Raleigh, N.C., on Monday.
(Karl B DeBlaker / Associated Press)
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Seth Jarvis and Nino Niederreiter scored second-period goals and Antti Raanta was strong in net to help the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Boston Bruins 5-1 on Monday night in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.

Raanta had 35 saves in his first career postseason start with No. 1 goaltender Frederik Andersen sidelined by injury. He held up against Boston’s game-opening surge to keep Carolina in it before Jarvis and Niederreiter scored roughly two minutes apart in the second period to break a scoreless tie.

Carolina never surrendered that lead. Teuvo Teravainen and Vincent Trocheck added third-period goals, which helped Carolina maintain control and then stretch out a lead in this best-of-seven series opener.

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Andrei Svechnikov punctuated the win with an empty-net goal at 17:59, capping what turned into a dominating third period against a team that has twice ousted Carolina from the playoffs in recent years.

Taylor Hall scored for Boston early in the third, beating Raanta between the circles after a feed from Erik Haula from a tussle behind the net. He almost tied the game minutes later when he pinged the left post. But those were the only real mistakes for Raanta, who made the routine glove stops along with the more impressive diving saves or post-to-post slides.

The Hurricanes won the Metropolitan Division, marking the second straight season they won a division title. And they have gone from having a nine-year playoff drought to reaching the postseason for the fourth straight season, the first time that had happened since the former Hartford Whalers relocated to North Carolina in 1997.

But the first two of those runs ended against the Bruins, first in a four-game sweep in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2019 followed by a five-game loss in the first round of the Toronto bubble a year later.

This time, they’re starting with a series lead.

Linus Ullmark finished with 20 saves for the Bruins, who have lost all four matchups with Carolina this year by a combined score of 21-2.

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Maple Leafs 5, Lightning 0

TORONTO — Auston Matthews had two goals and an assist and Jack Campbell made 23 saves in the second playoff shutout of his career as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning 5-0 in Game 1 of their first-round playoffs series.

Mitch Marner had a goal and two assists. Jake Muzzin scored and David Kampf added a goal on a short-handed breakaway for Toronto, which killed off five Lightning power plays, including an early five-minute major.

Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 28 shots for the Lightning.

The second game of the best-of-seven series is Wednesday in Toronto.

Teams that have won the series opener hold an all-time record of 499-228, including a 9-6 mark last season.

Blues 4, Wild 0

ST. PAUL, Minn. — David Perron had a hat trick and an assist to lead the visiting St. Louis Blues past the Minnesota Wild 4-0 in Game 1 of their first-round series, one year after he missed the playoffs with COVID-19.

Ryan O’Reilly scored, Torey Krug added three assists and Ville Husso made 37 saves for the shutout in his postseason debut for the Blues, who seized home-ice advantage from a Wild team they’ve had their way with in recent years.

By blocking 17 shots, clogging the passing lanes and dominating on both special teams, the confident Blues quieted Xcel Energy Center quickly with a 2-0 first-period lead and never let the crowd — that the Wild pushed so hard to play in front of to start the postseason — become a factor.

Perron scored on each of the first two power plays for St. Louis. The Blues went six for six on the penalty kill for the greatest source of frustration for the Wild on a night marked by up-close misfires and clanged posts. They had a 55-28 edge on the Blues in shots attempted over the first two periods, but 14 of them went wide of the net.

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Marc-Andre Fleury got the nod in goal for the Wild over All-Star Cam Talbot, who went 13-0-3 in his last 16 starts. Fleury, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner and three-time Stanley Cup champion, was acquired in a trade with Chicago on March 21.

The Wild were insistent there was no bad decision to make and that both goalies would be needed throughout the postseason, but if they don’t get their special teams on track this might be a short run. The Wild set franchise records for wins (53) and points (113) to nudge past the Blues for second place in the Central Division, despite a power play that ranked 18th in the NHL and a penalty kill that was 25th in the league.

Fleury started strong with a pad save on a penalty shot by Ivan Barbashev, but Perron put the Blues on the board less than three minutes later. After Brayden Schenn checked Wild defenseman Matt Dumba to the head and knocked him over, Jordan Greenway was called for roughing to give the Blues their first power play. Perron scored on a rebound just before the extra-skater time expired.

Fleury stopped 27 shots.

Husso was picked over Jordan Binnington, who backstopped the Blues all the way to the Stanley Cup title as a rookie in 2019. For the first game, at least, the inexperience once again didn’t matter in the St. Louis net.

Perron has plenty of time on ice when the moments are the most tense, with 92 career playoff games coming into the series. None last year, though, because he had to sit out with the virus while the Blues were swept by Colorado.

Perron bounced back in a big way against his friend and fellow Quebecois Fleury, who played with him on the Vegas team that reached the Stanley Cup finals in 2018 and with Pittsburgh in 2015.

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