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Game 4 Preview: Capitals vs. Hurricanes

Canes look to even series at home

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs game previews are presented by Visit Raleigh.


The Carolina Hurricanes have an opportunity to even their first-round series with the Washington Capitals on home ice in Game 4.

After falling down 2-0 in the best-of-seven slate, the Hurricanes dominated the Capitals in a 5-0 shutout win in Game 3 on Monday.

Lessons from Game 3

The Hurricanes played one of their best and most complete games of the season to earn their first victory of the series in Game 3. The Canes were dominant with the puck and suffocating in all areas of the ice. They struck first, stretched their lead and never afforded the Capitals an opportunity to get back into the game.

It was a well-earned playoff victory, the team's first since May 14, 2009.

"We were relentless. We just kept going at them," said Dougie Hamilton, who netted two power-play goals. "We worked. We had energy. We got on them."

Video: Dougie Hamilton: "The crowd was huge"

Since the Hurricanes have essentially approached each game in 2019 as a must-win game, the team's attitude wasn't much different heading into Game 3, knowing they wanted to avoid falling in a 3-0 hole.

"We understand it's one game, but it's nice to play the way we played," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said after the game.

GAME 4 PROJECTED LINEUP

Now with the opportunity to hold serve at home and even the series at two before it shifts back to Washington for Game 5, the Canes have discovered the blueprint for playoff success.

"It's never a must-win game until it is, but it is for us. We want to make sure we give our best effort. That's it. That's really all we talk about. If it's not good enough, then it's not good enough," Brind'Amour said after practice on Wednesday. "We know we need to play a certain way to have a chance against these guys. If the bounces don't go your way or something doesn't happen, we have another game, and that's nice to know, but we're definitely approaching it like we have to win."

Filling Holes

The Hurricanes' Game 4 lineup will be missing two critical pieces. Andrei Svechnikov, who scored two goals in the third period of Game 1, was injured in a first-period fight with countryman Alexander Ovechkin in Game 3. The Canes' 19-year-old rookie was helped off the ice, taken the hospital for further evaluation and subsequently released. He is currently in the concussion protocol and won't return to game action until medically cleared.

"We're going to be real careful. We're always careful," Brind'Amour said on Tuesday. "We're certainly not going to rush him back."

Micheal Ferland reaggravated an upper-body injury in the first period of Game 3 and did not return. He didn't practice with the team on Wednesday and remains "a ways away," according to Brind'Amour.

Video: Brind'Amour: "We feel good about the group we have"

Enter Patrick Brown, recalled from Charlotte on Tuesday afternoon, and re-enter Saku Maenalanen, who has been a healthy extra for two of the three games in this series. Both skated on a line centered by Greg McKegg in practice on Wednesday.

"We lose two forwards who are in the top nine or top six, however you want to look at it. That's obviously not ideal. But, it's next man up," Brind'Amour said. "We've got guys we feel real confident in to be able to at least chip away at what we're missing there. There's nothing much you can do about it. We feel good about the group we have and the players coming in to take those roles."

Brown, who last played in an NHL regular-season game in March 2017, totaled 35 points (19g, 16a) in 70 games with the Charlotte Checkers this season.

"You know what you're going to get out of him. Really good character kid. He's their leader down there in Charlotte and has been for a while," Brind'Amour said. "I just expect him to come work hard. He knows how to play the game."


ADVANCE AUTO PARTS KEYS TO THE GAME

1. Same Recipe

Game 3 was the exact way the Hurricanes have to play in order to dethrone the defending Stanley Cup champions. Repeat that effort and even up the series.

2. Next Man Up

The Hurricanes will be down a key pair of players tonight, and they'll be looking to Patrick Brown and Saku Maenanalen to step in. Those two can't fill the holes left in the lineup, but it's a team effort, and their contributions will be needed in some way.

3. Harness Emotion

PNC Arena will be rocking again tonight, and on the heels on an emotional Game 3, the Hurricanes need to harness that emotion, feed off it and channel it into their game plan.


AT THE RINK

Monday night was fun. Let's do it again, shall we?

There's a lot going on again for Game 4, including a South Plaza Party kicking the festivites off at 4:30 p.m. Here's a good rundown of everything, and full details are also available.

Tweet from @NHLCanes: Arrive early!Everything else you need to know about tomorrow 👇 pic.twitter.com/rXSgbGmAQT

Giveaway alert! "Raise Up" rally towels are waiting for you on your seat. Make Petey Pablo proud.


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