The Florida Panthers are on the brink of advancing to the round that every team in the NHL hopes to get to, the Stanley Cup Final. The Carolina Hurricanes are trying to be one of the rare teams to come back from a 3-0 series deficit. Which one will be successful? We will find out on Wednesday night at the FLA Live Arena when the Florida Panthers look to eliminate the Carolina Hurricanes in game 4.
Can the Canes do the impossible?
Panthers Barkov injured
Florida forward Aleksander Barkov is one of the best two-way players in the entire NHL. He will certainly be one to watch but how effective will he be in game 4 after being injured in game 3? Barkov took a hip check from Carolina forward Jack Drury in the first period of game 3, left, and never returned. There was uncertainty if he would play in game 4 but he is in the starting lineup. Will the injury that took him out in period one hinder his style of play?
Last chance for the Hurricanes to step up?
The Hurricanes are down in the series 3-0 and are down to their last loss before they are eliminated. The odds do not favor Carolina but teams have come back in the past. This scenario has happened 205 times in NHL history where a team has taken a series lead of 3-0. Of the previous 204 teams, 200 went on to win the series. If things could not be worse for the Hurricanes, The Panthers have a 2-0 record when taking the first three games of a series. On the flip side, Carolina has a record of 0-5 when dropping the first three games of a series.
Who starts in net for the Hurricanes?
This could be a crucial decision for head coach Rod Brind’Amour. Although they have not been great in this series, they have not been horrible. Canes goaltender Frederik Andersen is 0-2 with four goals against, a .941 save percentage against the Panthers, and the Hurricanes have scored only two goals in those games. The other Canes goaltender, Antti Raanta, is 0-1 with a .923 save percentage with two goals against, and the Hurricanes have scored only one goal. With the slight edge going to Andersen, do not be surprised if Brind’Amour goes with Raanta.
Hurricanes missing key players
While Carolina has made it this far, depth and rest will become an issue the farther the team goes in the playoffs. It is hard to say if it has been a factor but Carolina looks tired and defeated. Among those who are missing are forward Max Pacioretty, who has been on IR since March 23, 2003, with a torn achilles. Defenseman Jake Gardiner was placed on IR and out since October 10, 2022 with hip and back surgeries. Forward Ondrej Kase, who has been out since October 14, 2022, with a concussion. Lastly, Andrei Svechnikov has been out since March 13, 2023 with a knee issue. We cannot tell if they would have made a difference or not but they could not have made the situation any worse for Carolina.
What does Florida need to do to close it out?
The Panthers have done a great job in smothering the Carolina offense once it hits the Florida blueline. while Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky has been the difference maker, this has been a team effort. Florida needs to not let their emotions take over game 4 because we all know the last game is the hardest to win. Play as a unit, get the puck out, limit turnovers, and clear rebounds. Do not give Carolina a reason to get back into this series. The Hurricane offense has not shown up yet so the Panthers should not give them space to get that offense going.
Projected lineups for the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers
Carter Verhaeghe- Aleksander Barkov- Anthony Duclair
Nick Cousins- Sam Bennett- Matthew Tkachuk
Eetu Luostarinen- Anton Lundell- Sam Reinhart
Ryan Lomberg- Eric Staal- Colin White
Gustav Forsling- Aaron Ekblad
Marc Staal- Brandon Montour
Josh Mahura- Radko Gudas
Sergei Bobrovsky- Alex Lyon
Injured: Patric Hornqvist (concussion)
Scratched: Zac Dalpe, Mike Benning, Casey Fitzgerald, Evan Fitzpatrick, Lucas Carlsson, Mack Guzda, Matt Kierstad, Griogori Denisenko, Aleksi Heponiemi, Mackie Samoskevich, Connor Bunnaman, Patrick Giles, John Ludvig, Santtu KInnunen, Calle Sjalin
Stefan Noesen- Sebastian Aho- Seth Jarvis
Jack Drury- Jesperi Kotkaniemi- Teuvo Teravainen
Mackenzie MacEachern- Jordan Staal- Martin Necas
Jordan Martinook- Paul Stastny- Jesper Fast
Jaccob Slavin- Brent Burns
Brady Skeji- Brett Pesce
Shayne Gostisbehere- Jalen Chatfield
Frederik Andersen- Antti Raanta
Scratched: Jesse Puljujarvi, Derek Stepan, Calvin de Haan, Dylan Coghlan, Pyotr Kochetkov, Ville Koivunen, Vasily Ponomarev, Jamieson Rees, Ryan Suzuki, Maxime Lajoie, Zach Sawchenko
Lineups via nhl.com
Where to watch: ESPN, ESPN2, TBS, TNT