Carolina’s Warren Foegele scores two in the Canes victory over the Caps
1. ANSWER THE BELL For all the skill on the ice, this has been a rough-and-tumble, hard-hitting series, completely aside from the disastrous fight between Alex Ovechkin and Andrei Svechnikov. The Washington Capitals looked the more veteran squad in the first two games, knowing when and where to take liberties and get away with it. The Carolina Hurricanes met the physical challenge in Game 3 but there can be no slippage in Game 4.
2. FIRST BLOOD (FIGURATIVELY) The first goal isn’t all-important – the Hurricanes nearly came back from a three-goal deficit in Game 1 and recovered from two-goal and one-goal deficits in Game 2 only to lose in overtime – but for a team that still isn’t getting the production it needs from its best forwards, playing with a lead would remove a lot of that pressure.
3. FAREWELL FERLAND? Has Micheal Ferland played his last game for the Hurricanes? He was unable to play through a nagging injury in Game 3 and Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour’s tone remains curious in his evaluation of Ferland’s status. “He is, I would say, still a ways away,” Brind’Amour said Wednesday. “I’d just leave it at that.”
4. KEEP IT SPECIAL The Hurricanes have killed off 10 straight Washington power plays after giving up a pair of goals in Game 1 and are 3-for-their-past-6 on the power play themselves. They weren’t expected to win the special-teams battle, but at the moment, they are.
5. REINFORCEMENTS EN ROUTE AHL call-up Patrick Brown isn’t a flashy player, but he’s solid and reliable, won’t be overwhelmed by the pace or physicality, and Brind’Amour won’t hesitate to use him. Meanwhile, Calvin de Haan continues to edge closer to a return. Brind’Amour said de Haan is medically cleared but still not ready. His defensive acumen would be welcome against the Capitals’ skill.