The Carolina Hurricanes will get a three-game set with the Chicago Blackhawks started Monday night in PNC Arena, with just a week remaining in their regular season.
The Canes hold a 3-2-0 season series lead over Chicago with these three games remaining, and Carolina will look to improve on that as it fights down to the wire to try and win the Central Division.
Heading into Monday night’s action, the Canes lead both the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers by two points in the standings, with one game in hand on the Lightning and two games in hand on the Panthers. The Lightning will be off Monday night, while the Panthers will play host to the Dallas Stars.
Alex Nedeljkovic will be in goal for the Hurricanes Monday, and it’s an important game for him. If Nedeljkovic plays more than 30 minutes Monday (or in any game for the remainder of this season), he will be a restricted free agent this offseason rather than a UFA, something the Canes most certainly want considering how good Nedeljkovic has been all season.
Here's the full Save Percentage Above Expected Ranking for every goalie with 20 or more games played: pic.twitter.com/ekPgNrHoRt— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) May 3, 2021
The Canes are also hoping to have Jesper Fast on the ice Monday, though Brock McGinn, Jordan Martinook, Petr Mrazek and Cedric Paquette will all still be sidelined by injury.
Led by Sebastian Aho, who carries a seven-game point streak into Monday’s matchup, here’s how the Canes will lineup:
Andrei Svechnikov - Sebastian Aho - Teuvo Teravainen
Nino Niederreiter - Vincent Trocheck - Martin Necas
Warren Foegele - Jordan Staal - Jesper Fast
Max McCormick - Steven Lorentz - Morgan Geekie
Jaccob Slavin - Dougie Hamilton
Jake Bean - Brett Pesce
Brady Skjei - Jani Hakanpaa
Injuries and Scratches: Jordan Martinook (lower body), Brock McGinn (upper body), Petr Mrazek (lower body), Cedric Paquette (lower body)
Taxi Squad: Jake Gardiner, Joakim Ryan, Drew Shore
The Blackhawks had an outside shot at the Central Division’s fourth and final playoff spot just a few weeks ago, sitting just three points back following an April 21 win over the Nashville Predators, but have since lost four straight games and find themselves eight points out with time running out quickly.
Now Chicago will play three straight in Raleigh, the final three home games of the regular season for the Hurricanes.
Here is how the Blackhawks should lineup Monday, with Malcolm Subban in goal:
Alex DeBrincat - Philipp Kurashev - Patrick Kane
Vinnie Hinostroza - Kirby Dach - Brandon Hagel
Dominik Kubalik - Dylan Strome - Adam Gaudette
Mike Hardman - David Kampf - Pius Suter
Nikita Zadorov - Connor Murphy
Duncan Keith - Wyatt Kalynuk
Nicolas Beaudin - Ian Mitchell
Injuries and Scratches: Kevin Lankinen (healthy), Brett Connolly (healthy), Riley Stillman (healthy), Jonathan Toews (undisclosed, LTIR), Alex Nylander (knee, LTIR), Adam Boqvist (wrist, IR), Calvin de Haan (hip)
Taxi Squad: Cameron Morrison, Alec Regula, Chad Krys, Mackenzie Entwistle, John Quenneville