The Carolina Hurricanes are the first in the semifinals

The Carolina Hurricanes are the first in the semifinals

In their first playoff appearance in five years, the Devils were eliminated in five games by the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round. In Raleigh, a 3-2 overtime win for the local favorites put the final nail in the Devils’ coffin.

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It was arguably the closest game of the series, as the previous four games ended by a margin of four goals or more. It’s only the second time the Devils have managed to outsmart goaltender Frederik Andersen more than once.

New Jersey tried everything to stay alive and took the lead twice. Dawson Mercer quickly came towards the net and deflected Timo Meier’s shot past the Danish goalkeeper in the first period. Meier took advantage of Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s presence in the penalty area and restored the Devils’ lead himself in the second period.

However, the Hurricanes’ defenders played an important role at the offensive level. Jaccob Slavin scored Rod Brind’Amour’s men’s first goal early in the second period, then Brent Burns made it 2-2 with 38 seconds remaining.

It was Jesper Fast who scored the winning goal in overtime. Defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler can blame himself, who was in jail for hurling the puck to the other side of the bay window.

At least Devils head coach Lindy Ruff will have seen his charges leave the ice with their heads held high. On Tuesday, he lamented his team’s lack of clout after the 6-1 defeat. The coach also trusted Akira Schmid to tackle the game after Vitek Vanecek collapsed in front of the net a few days ago.

During that streak, Schmid was shown to be doing what he could with 36 saves. Andersen meanwhile faced 27 shots.

The Hurricanes are in the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2018-19. They were then defeated in four games by the Boston Bruins. This time the Florida Panthers or the Toronto Maple Leafs will be their opponents.