The Bruins raised Willie O’Ree’s No. 22 to the TD Garden rafters before Tuesday’s game against the Hurricanes, honoring the NHL’s first black player.
The rest of the night came crashing down around the home team.
Carolina scored five first-period goals, chasing Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask after 20 minutes in his second game back from quasi-retirement en route to a 7-1 win in Boston.
“The ceremony was beautiful and it’s awesome for Willie to have his number up in the rafters, and it’s huge for the league, huge for the Boston organization,” Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin said. “But then as a team for us to go out and play the way that we did is also huge. It’s another two points, but we just got to keep trucking along.”
The Hurricanes scored early and often.
Teuvo Teravainen opened the scoring just 3:44 into the game, one-timing a Slavin seam pass for a 1-0 lead.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi then sandwiched goals around a Bruins power play goal, scoring on a rebound and then redirecting a shot for a 3-1 advantage.
Rookie Seth Jarvis added to the scoring parade, using a power move for a highlight-reel goal, and Derek Stepan capped the first-period barrage by finishing a Jordan Martinook pass for a startling 5-1 Carolina lead after one period.
All five goals in the opening period came from within a few stick lengths of Rask, who stopped just seven of the 12 shots he faced.
“I think every single night it’s important to be there,” Stepan said of getting to the net. “You look around the league, that’s where the goals are scored. It takes hard work to get there, but a lot of times when you do you get rewarded.”
The only blemish for the Hurricanes was seeing its penalty kill streak coming to an end at 35 when the puck hit Patrice Bergeron’s skate and got past Frederik Andersen (31 saves).
The Hurricanes quickly started a new streak, killing off the next four penalties— including an extended 5-on-3 in the second period — to nix any chance of a Bruins rally.
“You’re just trying to get through it and not … give them any type of momentum,” Brind’Amour said. “Obviously, on a 5-on-3 your guys came through big, did a great job on that and then that kind of — I don’t want to say it put the game away, but it certainly made it a lot easier.”
The Hurricanes used the third period to show off the other half of their special teams.
Carolina’s power play scored twice on Linus Ullmark (20 saves), with Slavin firing a shot in at 3:05 and Andrei Svechnikov scoring on a broken play at 7:48 for his 13th goal of the season.
Slavin’s goal capped a three-point night for the Hurricanes defenseman. Slavin had missed the last two games while in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol but looked every bit his normal self in 22½ minutes of ice time.
“He is criminally underrated,” Jarvis said of Slavin. “He is so good. Everyone’s kind of lucky to watch him on a daily basis, especially our fans, because that guy, he’s special. He’s a special player, and he’s someone that really drives our team from the backend.”
Slavin was one of six Carolina players to have multipoint nights. Tony DeAngelo, Slavin’s defense partner, had the first three-assist game of his career, while Stepan, Svechnikov and Teravainen all finished with a goal and an assist. Kotkaniemi had the second two-goal game of his career and first with the Hurricanes,
“I think there was a purpose in what we were trying to do,” Brind’Amour said. “And listen, we scored on our chances, right? It doesn’t happen a lot. … We were able to capitalize and everything we did right seemed to go in the net.”
Carolina improved to 26-8-2 on the season, tied with the Panthers in points percentage (.750) and points (54) with the Rangers — Friday’s opponent at PNC Arena — atop the Metropolitan Division. The Hurricanes, who played their first road game since Jan. 1, are an NHL-best 14-4-1 away from home.
Notes: Slavin and DeAngelo both finished plus-4, tying career bests for both. … Carolina’s seven goals matched its season high, which was previously scored in its last road game, New Year’s Day’s 7-4 come-from-behind win in Columbus. … The Hurricanes have scored five or more goals 11 times this season and are 22-0-1 when scoring three or more goals.