Tampa Bay, FL -- The Carolina Hurricanes and the Tampa Bay Lightning meet this afternoon in Game Four of their second-round series. Carolina is coming off a 3-2 overtime victory in Game Three.
Playoff hockey is all about momentum. And after their Game Three win, the Canes are desperate to hold onto it.
"The key is to embrace [the ups and downs]," Carolina head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "There are going to be things that happen for you and against you. You've got to just keep grinding it out...That's part of it, and you can't let it affect you in a bad way."
To hold on to their momentum, Carolina needs to find a way to slow down the Tampa Bay powerplay--which has scored half of Tampa's six goals in this series.
In Game Three, both of Tampa's goals came on the man advantage. Through the first three games of the series, the Lightning have gone 3 of 8 on the powerplay.
"[Their powerplay] is one of their strengths, obviously," Brind'Amour said. "Are we going to try to do something a little different? Yeh, we're always making tiny adjustments. But, at the end of the day, that's five pretty talented players they're throwing out there--nobody's really been able to stop them."
With injuries piling up, the SAT line (Svechnikov, Aho, Teravainen) are likely to play significant minutes. If they can repeat their performance from Game Three, Carolina should have an excellent chance to win. Aho (1g, 2a), Teravainen (2a), and Svechnikov combined for six points on Thursday.
Martin Necas and Jordan Staal keep getting moved around in the lineup due to injuries. However, for the time being, expect them to stick together on a makeshift 2nd line with either Brock McGinn, Jesper Fast, or Jordan Martinook.
Expect game-time decisions to play a large role in this afternoon's lineup.
On Friday, Brind'Amour indicated that both Vincent Trocheck and Warren Foegele will try to play through their injuries.
"I think both of those guys will try tomorrow, then we'll see," Brind'Amour said. "[I don't have] a new medical update or anything."
Assuming Trocheck and Foegele are out, presume Max McCormick to join the fourth line with Steven Lorentz and Morgan Geekie. That line played well for the Canes down the stretch of the regular season and might be relied upon this afternoon.
Powerplay Unit One: Aho, Staal, Teravainen, Necas, Hamilton
Powerplay Unit Two: Geekie, Fast, Svechnikov, Pesce, Bean
In net, it looks like Petr Mrazek will get the start for Game Four. Mrazek certainly earned it, stopping 35 of 37 shots in Game Three.
The Canes' expected lines:
Andrei Svechnikov — Sebastian Aho — Teuvo Teravainen
Martin Necas — Jordan Staal — Jesper Fast
Brock McGinn — Jordan Martinook — Cedric Paquette
Max McCormick — Steven Lorentz — Morgan Geekie
Jaccob Slavin — Dougie Hamilton
Brady Skjei — Brett Pesce
Jake Bean — Jani Hakanpaa
Injuries: Nino Niederreiter (upper body), Vincent Trocheck (lower body), Warren Foegele (upper body)
Scratches: James Reimer, Drew Shore, Joakim Ryan, Ronald McKeown, Maxim Lajoie, Jake Gardiner
Tampa Bay's expected lines:
Ondrej Palat — Brayden Point — Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn — Anthony Cirelli — Steven Stamkos
Barclay Goodrow — Yanni Gourde — Blake Coleman
Patrick Maroon — Tyler Johnson — Ross Colton
Victor Hedman — Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh — Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev — Luke Schenn
Injuries: Anders Nilsson (concussion), David Savard (upper body)
Scratches: Fredrik Claesson, Andreas Borgman, Mathieu Joseph, Taylor Raddysh, Boris Katchouk, Gemel Smith, Cal Foote, Ben Thomas, Alex Barre-Boulet, Mitchell Stephens, Daniel Walcott, Spencer Martin