Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour, $25,000 poorer due to his comments after Game 1 of his team’s Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series with the Boston Bruins, wasn’t about to risk lightening his wallet even more.
Especially not after a win.
Carolina defenseman Dougie Hamilton scored 8:30 into the third period — his first goal since Jan. 7 — and the Hurricanes overcame the Bruins and another night of questionable officiating to win 3-2 in Game 2 and even the series at one game apiece.
“I loved it, loved it,” Brind’Amour said of his team fighting through adversity to win Game 2. “There’s a lot at stake, obviously. And you know, it was a lot of adversity and things happen in the game, and you have to be willing to adapt and kind of fight through it.
“And I thought we, at every turn, everything that kind of seemed to go against us, the guys just — ‘Next shift,’ and bounced back. So, proud of the effort for sure.”
They were rewarded with Hamilton’s game-winner.
After a go-ahead goal earlier in the period was waved off and Carolina was assessed a penalty for the second straight game for losing a challenge, Hamilton made sure there was no question about his goal.
After a scrum in front of the net, the puck kicked out to the far boards in the Boston end and Martin Necas retrieved it and circled the net. He backhanded a pass to the top of the right circle where Hamilton one-timed it past Tuukka Rask’s glove to put Carolina ahead for good with 11:30 remaining.
“First of all, it’s my grandma’s birthday today. So I think that one is for her,” said Hamilton, who then answered the initial question about scoring against the team that drafted him. “So other than that, obviously it’s always great to score against your old team and in the playoffs and third period and all that stuff. It’s always fun to score goals.”
Despite having not played in seven months, Hamilton logged more than 51 minutes combined in the first two games on consecutive days.
“He was special and, obviously, huge goal tonight,” Brind’Amour said of Hamilton. “But the minutes that he’s putting up there, I think that’s something we didn’t really expect. He’s obviously answered the bell on that, so pretty good performance tonight.”
And then there’s Necas, the 21-year-old rookie who not only had the primary assists on Carolina’s final two goals but started the Hurricanes’ push in the second period with a forecheck that led to an extended shift in the Boston end.
“As the game got on, he started really to assert himself,” Brind’Amour said of Necas. “And he has that ability — if you give him a little room, he can definitely make some plays and [he] can really skate. So he has that speed element, and I thought he was effective tonight.”
Necas credited Brind’Amour with shuffling the lines and putting him and Svechnikov on Vincent Trocheck’s wings for his play in the second half of the game.
“We switched lines a little bit, so I played with Svech and Troch, and I felt a little bit more comfortable,” Necas said. “You know, we still haven’t played that many games, and every game, I feel a little better. And today, I was probably feeling the best.”
That was illustrated on Carolina’s go-ahead goal in the second.
Just 88 seconds after Teuvo Teravainen tied the game with a power play goal off an Andrei Svechnikov pass, Necas set Svechnikov up for one of his own.
Defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk — playing in place of Joel Edmundson — kept a Rask clearing attempt in at the point and got Necas the puck on the half-wall. Necas spotted Svechnikov curling into the slot and set him up at the left hash mark for a quick shot that beat Rask high to make it 2-1 at 16:41 of the middle frame.
The Bruins power play, already on the board in the first period on a David Krejci redirection at 15:41, set up the do-or-die third.
After Teravainen was called for a questionable interference penalty on Torey Krug, Brad Marchand — playing without opposite wing David Pastrnak, who was unfit to play — got the puck in the Hurricanes paint and scored to again tie the game with five seconds left in the second period.
The Bruins, however, couldn’t find a way to get a third goal past James Reimer (33 saves), including during a pulled goalie sequence at the end of the game where the Hurricanes found a way to keep the puck out of their net.
“Every time something seemed to go against us, we felt like we bounced back,” Brind’Amour said. “So, you know, it just evens a series. It’s nothing to get overly excited about, but it at least gets us back to square one.”
Notes: On top of Reimer and van Riemsdyk entering the lineup, two other Hurricanes were inserted for Game 2. Justin Williams and Sami Vatanen — both unfit to play in Game 1 — played in place of Nino Niederreiter and Jake Gardiner, respectively. … Karson Kuhlman played for the Bruins in place of Pastrnak, playing 9:42, while Anders Bjork played on the top line with Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. … Jaccob Slavin had a game-high six blocks.