Another epic night in Raleigh has this series all tied up heading back to Washington. The Carolina Hurricanes came out to a record setting crowd inside PNC Arena and shut down the Washington Capitals, winning Game 4 2-1.
The Good - FoegDaddy and Mrazzle Dazzle do it again
Every playoff series typically features an unsung hero. After Game 1 many Hurricanes fans may have thought that guy would be rookie Andrei Svechnikov, but appears the true hero may be a different rookie by the name of Warren Foegele.
Foegele has scored multiple huge goals for the Canes over the last two weeks but his ice breaking goal last night may be his biggest yet. Mere seconds after the game started the Canes skated the puck in to the offensive zone where Justin Williams and Jaccob Slavin made some extraordinary passing to set up Foegele for the tap in.
This goal electrified an already super charged building and set the tone for the rest of the game. The team scoring first in each game has gone on to win, proving Foegele’s goal that much more important.
With the injuries to Svechnikov and Micheal Ferland, Foegele has seen an increase in ice time and responsibility. Now that Jordan Martinook appears to possibly be out on top of the other injuries, the Canes will need Foegele to continue his hot play if they want to steal a game in Washington.
Another guy the Canes will desperately need to continue his high level of play is Petr Mrazek. In 120 minutes of hockey played at PNC Arena this week, Mrazek only allowed one goal, which is simply phenomenal against the high powered Capitals offense.
There were a few goals in the first two games that Mrazek would like to have had back, but since Game 3 began he has been lights out. The fans adore him and he seems to love this fan base. The Hurricanes will need him to be lights out once again as they travel to Washington and all indications are he will be.
The Bad - Letting Ovi be Ovi
The Hurricanes have done a great job stifling the Capitals power play over the past two games, but they did have one hiccup last night. Alex Ovechkin scored from his patented position during the second period to tie the game at one. In fairness to the Canes, it was late in the power play, and Brock McGinn had given his stick to Trevor van Riemsdyk who had broken his. McGinn was responsible for Ovechkin and without his stick was somewhat defenseless.
Still, the Canes need to be more aware of Ovechkin on this power play, as this is his second goal of the series with the man advantage. They are lucky this one didn’t come back to bite them, but they have to be better against Ovi on the power play going forward.
The Great - Teuvo & Nino are alive!
After the first three games of the series one was left wondering: where on Earth are Teuvo Teravainen and Nino Niederreiter? The two players, catalysts for the Hurricanes stretch run, had been nearly invisible so far, scoring only one assist by Teravainen.
With the Canes down multiple bodies they needed their big guys to step up. Teravainen and Niederreiter answered that call by teaming up for the game winning goal very late in the second period. Nino made an excellent pass to Teravainen who walked in all alone on Braden Holtby and did not miss. Credit to Sebastian Aho here for creating the pass for the pass to begin with and credit Teravainen for the (ahem) Finnish.
The surprise play of Foegele has taken some of the heat off the big three in the Hurricanes lineup, but they all have to be better. Aho, Teravainen, and Niederreiter have to be the Canes’ best players for the rest of this series. One can only hope they can use this massive goal to help get things going.
Moral of the Story
It was another great night for hockey in Raleigh, North Carolina last night. The Canes have stormed back to tie the series while the Caniacs have undoubtedly proven the Loudest House In The NHL is back. A PNC Arena hockey attendance record was set last night and you can tell everyone is feeling it right now.
There is a lot of work to be done and the Hurricanes have to find a way to win one on the road. If Mrazek and Foegele can keep up their stellar play and the big three can get rolling, anything is possible. For as crazy as last night was, should the Canes find a way to win Game 5, Raleigh could be even crazier if they have a chance to win a series at home on Monday. That’s hard to imagine, but one hundred percent possible with the way the team has played the last two games.