The Carolina Hurricanes accomplished exactly what they needed to in Game 3 and 4 at home in Raleigh. Backed by an amazing crowd for both games, the Canes swept the Washington Capitals to even the series, and look to break serve as the venue switches back once again to Capital One Arena.
The Hurricanes welcomed Calvin de Haan back in Game 4, but again faced adversity up front as Jordan Martinook exited early and did not return after re-aggravating a lower body injury. Alexsi Saarela was added to the roster due to the pending injuries. With the loss of Martinook, as well as the continued absence of Micheal Ferland and Andrei Svechnikov, the Canes will be digging ever-deeper into their organizational depth.
Rod Brind’Amour confirms no Svechnikov, Ferland or Martinook tonight. @NHLCanes— Mike Maniscalco (@mikemaniscalco) April 20, 2019
Based off the morning skate, below is how Rod Brind’Amour is expected to send out his team for Game 5:
Nino Niederreiter - Sebastian Aho - Teuvo Teravainen
Warren Foegele - Jordan Staal - Justin Williams
Brock McGinn - Lucas Wallmark - Saku Maenalanen
Alexsi Saarela - Greg McKegg - Patrick Brown
Jaccob Slavin - Dougie Hamilton
Brett Pesce - Justin Faulk
Calvin de Haan - Trevor van Riemsdyk
Scratches: Jordan Martinook (lower body), Haydn Fleury (healthy), Andrei Svechnikov (concussion protocol), Micheal Ferland (upper body)
The Capitals return home looking to regain their footing in the the series, but will do so without one of their main offensive cogs as T.J. Oshie will be out indefinitely following the boarding penalty issued to Warren Foegele late in Game 4. To fill the major void created, the Caps have recalled a playoff hero from a season ago, Devante Smith-Pelly from Hershey. Smith-Pelly spent 54 games with the Caps this season, but struggled offensively with just eight points (4 goals, 4 assists) in 54 games played.
Even with the loss of Oshie, the Caps must find a way to produce more offensively as they could only scrap together one goal (on the power play) in the two games at PNC Arena. They will look for players such as Evgeny Kuznetsov to pick up the slack, as Kuznetsov has yet to score in the series while notching three assists in the first two games in Washington.
Todd Rierden is expected to run the following lines out in Game 5:
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Carl Hagelin
Andre Burakovsky - Lars Eller - Brett Connolly
Chandler Stephenson - Nic Dowd - Devante Smith-Pelly
John Carlson - Jonas Siegenthaler
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Nick Jensen
Scratches: Michal Kempny (hamstring surgery), Christian Djoos (healthy), T.J. Oshie (upper body)
They Said It
Excerpts from today’s practice:
- Aleksi Saarela: “It’s a special moment, I’ve been dreaming this for all my life, finally coming for me to NHL. We’re going to have a long lunch [Aho and Teravainen] and we’ll go from there. Vellucci called me, and said I’m going to come here. It was kind of hard to fall asleep. It’s pretty intense games, and physical too, so it’s been exciting to watch. I’m trying to skate hard and do all the right things and we’ll see what happens. Well obviously I know Brownie, he’s our captain in Charlotte, and play with Kegger for a year almost, so I know how those two guys play and obviously it’s a big help.”
- Warren Foegele: “You just try to ignore it. We know what’s at stake here tonight and my focus is on playing hockey and playing this game tonight. I think everyone wants the opportunity, right, to go out there and take advantage of it, and so far things are going well for me, but right now the team’s playing well and we’ve got to continue that.”
- Calvin de Haan: “It’s fun to be a part of it. I’d like to think I helped get this team to the playoffs, and it’s fun to be a part of the resurgence of the Canes here. Win or lose here, we’ve done some great things this season and the future’s great for this group.” [About the social media backlash directed toward Warren Foegele] I think it’s stupid, to be honest, like, Warren’s not trying to hurt anyone out there, and there’s no need to throw death threats out there at him. It’s part of the game, and if you actually played hockey and understand the game, it happens 100 times a game and he just ended up into the boards the wrong way. You never want to see anyone get hurt but I know Warren wasn’t trying to hurt anyone. It is what it is. It just picks up a little bit because the stakes are higher. But whatever, someone just sitting at home and being an armchair GM and they’d never say it to our face.”