Jesper Fast scored the game-winning goal in overtime to send the Hurricanes to the Eastern Final with a 3-2 win.
Fast deflected a Jesperi Kotkaniemi shot for the win at 7:09 on a power play caused by defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler, who was ejected for shooting the puck into the crowd.
Fast completed a game started by Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Shayne Gostisbehere. It’s the second time this spring that Fast has scored in overtime. He had the same thing in the second game of the first round.
The Hurricanes eliminate the Devils in five games.
“To see 20 guys rushing towards you to jump into your arms, it will give good memories”, mentioned after the meeting the hero of the match.
“I had this funny feeling going into overtime. I had missed two chances and I thought the next one was going to end up in the net,” he added.
“In 20 years, he will remember this moment. Someone might even mention it to him. It is not forgotten and it is a beautiful memory for me too. It’s very special,” commented head coach Rod Brind’Amour.
Carolina managed to come from behind twice to come from behind and win.
Carolina is the first team to reach a conference final and advances to the Eastern Finals for the first time since 2019. The Canes will face the series winners between Florida and Toronto, who will face elimination Friday.
It is also the fifth time in their history that the Hurricanes have reached this level.
The Devils had however started the meeting well. Unlike the previous game, Lindy Ruff’s men offered an effective transition game that allowed the puck to get out of the crease, which also led to New Jersey’s first goal.
Despite great speed in the first, the Devils lacked opportunism that could have changed the game and even extended their season.
Trailing by one goal, the Hurricanes struck late in the second period with a goal in the first and last minutes of the period. Former Montreal Canadiens Jesperi Kotkaniemi tied the game first when he deflected a shot past goaltender Akira Schmid. It was then 1-1.
Then with 38 seconds left in the second, Brent Burns scored his second of the playoffs with a wrist shot from the blue line. His goal also served to tie the game 2-2.
The Devils opened the scoring with the only goal of the first period, but quite a goal when well fueled by a superb pass from Timo Meier, Dawson Mercer put the Devils ahead by lodging the puck in the enemy net. Meier was along the inbounds ramp on the right side when he relayed the disc to his teammate who was cutting to the net on the left side.
The Devils took advantage of the penalty at Kotkaniemi to regain a 2-1 lead through Timo Meier who pushed a return past goaltender Frederik Andersen.
Author of a goal and an assist, Meier will blame himself for having missed a chance in the second period after finding himself in front of a gaping cage, when he was on the left of the net. His shot, however, missed the target crossing the semi-circle reserved for the goalkeeper.
Ondrej Palat was also unable to take advantage of a unique opportunity in the third when he found himself alone in front of Andersen, whom he was unable to outsmart.
“I give a lot of credit to Rod and his team. They played a whole series. The players had a very good idea of playoff hockey. We’ll take it as a lesson for the future,” Devils head coach Lindy Ruff said.
Andersen made 27 saves in front of the net for the Canes while Schmid stopped 36 shots for the Devils.