The Carolina Hurricanes stepped on the ice in Tampa Bay down two games to none to the Lightning on Thursday night. It was safe to say that the game was a must-win for the Hurricanes, and a win was just what they got. Petr Mrazek was stellar in net, his first game between the pipes since May 10, and the SAT line of Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov and Tevuo Teravainen was back and better than ever.
So far this series has mirrored the team’s first-round matchup against the Montreal Canadiens in 2006. That team lost the first two games of the series at home, went on the road in game three and captured a double-overtime victory. In an even more eerie similarity, that game-winning goal was scored by Jordan Staal’s older brother Eric.
There were many things to like about the team’s performance last night, and others that were concerning, but the main thing is that the Canes have made this a series and have guaranteed that they will have at least one more game at PNC Arena this season.
Let’s talk about last night.
Petr the great
Head coach Rod Brind’Amour surprisingly announced yesterday morning that Petr Mrazek would start in net in game three. Alex Nedeljkovic had played well in the first two games of the series, but Brind’Amour said he was giving Ned a mental break. It was a move that perplexed many fans and pundits, but the result speaks for itself.
Mrazek stopped 35 of 37 shots, and all 35 shots at even strength. He had not played a minute in a game since May 10, and any worries about rust were gone within the first five minutes of the first period. He made several high-quality saves, and kept the Canes in the game after the Bolts tied the game with two fantastic power-play goals, goals that Mrazek didn’t have a chance at thanks to solid puck movement by the Lightning.
“I felt pretty good, It’s all about preparation,” Mrazek said after the game. “I was just trying to be ready as much as possible and see if I get a game. I’m happy that I got one and we won tonight.”
SAT line takes the Bolts to school
The SAT line of Svechnikov, Aho and Terravinen was reunited in game three and their chemistry once again made the difference in the game. The trio accounted for six points on the night. Aho led the way with three points (1g, 3A), followed by Terravinen with 2 points (2A) and Svechnikov added an assist.
The line had been split up recently, but with injuries to Nino Niederreiter and Vincent Trocheck, Brind’Amour put the line back together for game three. It was apparent early on in the game that the line was clicking on all cylinders. It was fun to watch three players with tremendous talent work together on the ice to help lead their team to victory.
Another injury leaves more questions
Warren Foegle left the game with an upper-body injury after getting hit in his shoulder late in the second period. Foegle immediately wrenched in pain and skated back to the locker room, but he returned to the ice for the start of the third period. His first shift on the ice in the third period, Foegle was sandwiched between Steven Stamkos and Blake Coleman and went back to the locker room and he did not return to the game.
That is the third Hurricanes forward to go down with an injury this series. Niederreiter was injured in practice before game one, and Trocheck went down in game two. Not much is known about the severity of Foegle’s injury at this time thought.
“I’m not sure how that’s going to shake out,” Brind’Amour said. “I don’t know if he got X-rayed. There was something that he did in between periods. He came out and tried it and it obviously didn’t go so well. We’ll hopefully know more tomorrow.”
Game four on Saturday
The Hurricanes will take on the Lightning again on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. at Amalie Arena, and look to even up the best of seven series at two games apiece. The game will be broadcast on USA Network.