By AARON BEARD
AP Sports Writer
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Carolina goalie Antti Raanta left the Hurricanes’ playoff game against the Boston Bruins in the first period Wednesday night after David Pastrnak struck him in the head with a gloved hand.
Raanta was playing the puck when Pastrnak skated in and hit Raanta in the helmet with his right glove as he went by. Raanta went down, with team medical staff holding a towel to his face to stop bleeding from an apparent mouth injury after the play in Game 2.
Raanta was helped off and replaced by rookie Pyotr Kochetkov at the 7:47 mark. The Hurricanes ruled him out for the night during the first intermission with what was described only as an upper-body injury.
Pastrnak was originally called for a 5-minute major, though that was changed to a 2-minute goaltender interference call to loud boos from a fuming Carolina crowd. Those boos followed Pastrnak the moment he came out of the penalty box, too.
Carolina’s goaltender position and been a concern coming into the series with No. 1 netminder Frederik Andersen still sidelined by a lower-body injury from late in the regular season. But Raanta had 35 saves in the 5-1 win in Game 1 for earning his first playoff start.
Raanta’s exit pushed Carolina deeper into its roster for this one. Kotchetkov went 3-0 in the regular season, getting work after Andersen’s injury followed by a brief scare for Raanta and showing promise.
The Hurricanes have rookie Jack LaFontaine as the emergency backup goaltender, with the 24-year-old having two career NHL games on his resume.
Raanta’s exit came a day after Pittsburgh’s Louis Domingue came on in relief of starter Casey DeSmith due to a lower-body injury in the middle of the second overtime against the New York Rangers. Domingue turned away all 17 shots he faced in a triple-OT victory.
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