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NHL Eastern Conference Finals Game 4 Preview: Carolina Hurricanes (0-3) at Florida Panthers (3-0)

CAROLINA HURRICANES NOTES:

FIRST ROUND
The Hurricanes defeated the New York Islanders in six games, with a 2-1 record at home and on the road. Sebastian Aho (4-3-7) and Brent Burns (0-5—5) led the team in scoring, while Paul Stastny scored three goals in the series, including his third career playoff overtime goal to clinch the series in Game 6. Carolina went 5-for-25 (20.0%) on the power play, as Stefan Noesen paced the team with two goals on the man-advantage, and the team’s league-leading 94.4% penalty kill rate (17-for-18) established a new franchise record for a single playoff series. Antti Raanta (3-2) and Frederik Andersen (1-0) each made appearances in net, as Andersen made his Hurricanes playoff debut in Game 6 and recorded his first series-clinching win since 2015.

SECOND ROUND
Carolina defeated the New Jersey Devils in five games, with a 3-0 record at home and a 1-1 record on the road. Jordan Martinook tallied a team-high 10 points (3g, 7a), tying the franchise record for points in a playoff series and becoming the second player in NHL history to post double-digit points in a series after being held off the scoresheet in his team’s previous round that postseason. Jesper Fast (3-3—6), Jesperi Kotkaniemi (3-2—5) and Martin Necas (3-0—3) matched Martinook for the team lead in goals, as Fast scored the Hurricanes’ second overtime, series-clinching goal of this postseason. Frederik Andersen made all five starts in net, earning a 4-0 record, 2.01 goals-against average and .918 save percentage.

GAME ONE
The Hurricanes suffered a 3-2 loss against the Panthers in quadruple overtime at PNC Arena on Thursday, losing a playoff overtime game for the first time since 2021 in the longest contest in franchise history (139:47). Frederik Andersen set a franchise playoff record with a career-high 57 saves on 60 shots, and 17 of Carolina’s 19 players set new career highs for ice time. Seth Jarvis and Stefan Noesen each scored on the power play, and Jarvis tallied an assist on Noesen’s goal for his fifth career postseason multi-point outing.

GAME TWO
Carolina again fell to Florida in overtime, 2-1, at PNC Arena on Saturday. Jalen Chatfield scored the team’s only goal with assists from Sebastian Aho and Stefan Noesen, and Antti Raanta made his first start since the First Round, stopping 24 of 26 shots faced in defeat.

GAME THREE
The Hurricanes suffered a 1-0 loss against the Panthers at FLA Live Arena on Tuesday, marking their first 1-0 postseason loss since 2009. Frederik Andersen stopped 16 of 17 shots faced in net.

INJURY REPORT
Jake Gardiner, upper-body, missed 96 games (10/12-5/22)
Ondrej Kase, concussion, missed 95 games (10/14-5/22)
Max Pacioretty, torn Achilles, missed 51 games (1/21-5/22)
Andrei Svechnikov, torn ACL, missed 32 games (3/12-5/22)
2022-23 Regular-Season Man-Games Lost Due to Injury: 334
2023 Playoffs Man-Game Lost Due to Injury: 73

HURRICANES vs. PANTHERS SERIES NOTES
— Carolina is facing Florida in the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, marking the 15th different opponent to face the Whalers/Hurricanes in the postseason.

— The Hurricanes and Panthers have met 138 times in their regular-season histories. Carolina holds a 71-46-11-10 overall record, including a 44-17-3-5 home record and a 27-29-8-5 road record.

— The two teams have also previously spent 15 seasons as divisional foes (Southeast Division, 1998-13; Central Division, 2020-21), with Carolina earning a 50-25-9-7 record against Florida during those campaigns (Florida: 32-37-9-13).

— The Hurricanes won the regular-season series 2-1-0 in 2022-23 (Panthers: 1-2-0).

— Carolina suffered a 3-0 loss against Florida at FLA Live Arena on 11/9. Antti Raanta stopped 34 of 36 shots faced in net.

— The Hurricanes posted a 4-0 win over the Panthers at PNC Arena on 12/30. Brent Burns (2a), Seth Jarvis (2a) and Jesperi Kotkaniemi (1g, 1a) recorded two points, while Antti Raanta stopped all 19 shots faced in net for his second shutout of the season.

— Carolina clinched a second straight Metropolitan Division title with a 6-4 win over Florida at FLA Live Arena on 4/13. Sebastian Aho (1g, 1a), Brent Burns (2g), Shayne Gostisbehere (1g, 1a) and Seth Jarvis (2a) all registered two points, while Frederik Andersen made 30 saves in net.

— Shayne Gostisbehere is a native of Pembroke Pines, Fla., and ranks first all-time in points among all NHL players born in Florida. He attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland for two years (2007-09) before transferring to South Kent Prep in Connecticut.

— Hurricanes Assistant Coach Jeff Daniels played 10 games with Florida from 1994-95.

— Panthers Assistant GM Paul Krepelka served as the Hurricanes’ Vice President of Hockey Operations for two seasons from 2018-20.

— Panthers Head Coach Paul Maurice served in the same capacity with Hartford/Carolina over two stints from 1995-03 and 2008-11. Maurice earned a 384-391-99-46 regular-season record and holds the franchise records for games coached and wins in the regular season. He also added a 25-28 record in the playoffs, leading the Hurricanes to two Conference Finals (2002, 2009) and one Stanley Cup Final (2002).

— Panthers Assistant Coach Tuomo Ruutu registered 216 points (90g, 126a) in 378 games with the Hurricanes from 2008-14. He was acquired from Chicago in exchange for Andrew Ladd on 2/26/08 and traded to New Jersey in exchange for Andrei Loktionov on 3/5/14.

— Zac Dalpe was selected by Carolina in the second round (45th overall) of the 2008 NHL Draft and recorded 10 points (5g, 5a) in 41 NHL games with the Hurricanes from 2010-13. He also played parts of four AHL seasons with Albany/Charlotte from 2010-13, earning 139 points (68g, 71a) in 180 games. Dalpe was traded to Vancouver along with Jeremy Welsh in exchange for Kellan Tochkin and a fourth-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft (Josh Wesley).

— Gustav Forsling was acquired from Chicago along with Anton Forsberg in exchange for Calvin de Haan and Aleksi Saarela, and he tallied 26 points (8g, 18a) in 57 AHL games with Charlotte in 2019-20. Forsling was claimed on waivers by Florida on 1/9/21.

— Eetu Luostarinen was drafted by the Hurricanes in the second round (42nd overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft and recorded one assist in eight games with Carolina in 2019-20. He was traded to Florida on 2/24/20 along with Erik Haula, Lucas Wallmark and Chase Priskie in exchange for Vincent Trocheck.

— Alex Lyon played in the Hurricanes’ organization in 2021-22. He spent most of the season with Chicago (AHL), posting an 18-7-3 record, 2.16 goals-against average, .912 save percentage and three shutouts in 30 regular-season games before going 9-3-0 with two shutouts in the playoffs to help lead the Wolves to a Calder Cup championship. Lyon also made two appearances with Carolina, earning a 1-0-1 record, 2.93 goals-against average and .908 save percentage.

— Two of Jordan Staal’s brothers, Eric and Marc, play for Florida. Eric previously spent parts of 12 seasons with Carolina (2003-16), helping the Hurricanes win the Stanley Cup in 2006 and captaining the team from 2009-16. He registered 775 points (322g, 453a) in 909 games with Carolina and ranks first in team history (since relocation) in games played, goals, assists, points, power-play goals (105), power-play points (252) and game-winning goals (47). Jordan’s third brother, Jared, also serves as an assistant coach for the Charlotte Checkers, Florida’s AHL affiliate.

NO SUCH LUCK
Carolina has suffered three straight one-goal losses against Florida to open the Conference Final, and according to NHL Stats, the Hurricanes are the 22nd team in league history to lose each of their first three games of a playoff series by one goal. They are looking to avoid becoming the sixth of those teams to be outscored by just four goals in a series sweep, alongside the 1968 Blues (Stanley Cup Final vs. MTL), 1993 Sabres (Adams Division Final vs. MTL), 1999 Oilers (Western Conference Quarterfinal vs. DAL), 2003 Red Wings (Western Conference Quarterfinal vs. ANA) and 2018 Kings (Western Conference First Round vs. VGK).

BACK AGAINST THE WALL
The Hurricanes are down 3-0 in a best-of-seven series for the sixth time in franchise history, and they have earned a 2-3 record in Game 4 after losing each of the first three games. The Whalers/Hurricanes cut series deficits to 3-1 with Game 4 wins in the 1988 Adams Division Semifinal vs. MTL and 2001 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal vs. NJD. Carolina hopes to become the fifth team in NHL history to win a best-of-seven series after trailing 3-0 (4-200 series record all-time), and the first team to accomplish the feat in round before the Stanley Cup Final (0-46 series record all-time). The 2014 Kings (Western Conference First Round vs. SJS) were the last team to overcome a 3-0 series deficit, accomplishing the feat en route to their second Stanley Cup. Carolina has posted a 15-15 record when facing elimination in a best-of-seven series, including a 3-4 record in those contests since 2019.

FLORIDA PANTHERS NOTES:

BAPTIST HEALTH INJURY REPORT

  • F Patric Hornqvist | Games Missed: 15
    Total Playoff Man Games Lost Due to Injury: 26
    Total Regular Season Man Games Lost Due to Injury: 239

LAST GAME
Panthers 1, Hurricanes 0 – May 22 – FLA Live Arena
FLA Goals: Reinhart (7-PPG)
CAR Goals: –
FLA Goalie: Bobrovsky (W) – 32 Saves
CAR Goalie: Andersen (L) – 16 Saves
FLA Shots: 17
CAR Shots: 32
Notes: Sergei Bobrovsky stopped all 32 shots he faced for his first career NHL playoff shutout, Florida’s first postseason shutout on home ice since Jose Theodore in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal vs. NJD on April 21, 2012…Bobrovsky has posted above a .960 save percentage in each of his past four games, earning a win in each contest…His shutout marked the fourth postseason shutout in franchise history…Bobrovsky (132 saves) surpassed Johnny Bower (125 saves in 1960 SF vs DET) for the most saves by a goaltender through the first three games of a Conference Final/Semifinals series (since 1955-56)…Sam Reinhart scored his team-leading third power-play goal of the postseason, matching Dave Lowry and Ray Sheppard for the most career PPGs in franchise postseason history (4)…Matthew Tkachuk and Sam Bennett assisted on Reinhart’s tally, with Tkachuk and Bennett having now factored on all three game-winning goals in the series…Florida finished its first 1-0 postseason game since Game 4 of the 1996 Stanley Cup Final vs. COL…The Panthers have now been involved in seven straight games that were decided by one goal…The Cats have won 10 of their past 11 games…FLA PP: 1-4, FLA PK: 1-1

RECENT TRANSACTIONS:

  • May 8: F Mackie Samoskevich agreed to terms on a three-year, entry-level contract

PANTHERS vs. HURRICANES
ALL-TIME vs. CAR: 56-56-11-15
ALL-TIME HOME vs. CAR: 56-56-11-15
2022-23 vs. CAR: 1-2-0

ROUND 1 – FLA (4) vs. BOS (3)
GAME 1 – FLA 1, BOS 3
GAME 2 – FLA 6, BOS 3
GAME 3 – BOS 4, FLA 2
GAME 4 – BOS 6, FLA 2
GAME 5 – FLA 4, BOS 3 [OT]
GAME 6 – BOS 5, FLA 7
GAME 7 – FLA 4, BOS 3 [OT]

ROUND 2 – FLA (4) vs. TOR (1)
GAME 1 – FLA 4, TOR 2
GAME 2 – FLA 3, TOR 2
GAME 3 – TOR 2, FLA 3 [OT]
GAME 4 – TOR 2, FLA 1
GAME 5 – FLA 3, TOR 2 [OT]

ECF – FLA (3) vs. CAR (0)
GAME 1 – FLA 3, CAR 2 [4OT]
GAME 2 – FLA 2, CAR 1 [OT]
GAME 3 – FLA 1, CAR 0

HOME SWEET HOME
Florida has won three of its past four games at FLA Live Arena. Sam Reinhart leads Florida with five home goals (5-0-5) this postseason, while Matthew Tkachuk has registered a team-high seven points (3-4-7). Brandon Montour paces Cats blueliners with four home points (1-3-4) in the playoffs, and Sergei Bobrovsky owns a 3-2 home record.

ROAD WARRIORS
The Cats have won each of their past eight road playoff games dating back to Game 2 at BOS, the longest playoff road win streak in club history and the second-longest in NHL history, behind only the 2012 LAK’s 10-game streak. Over their eight-game road win streak, the Cats have outscored their opponents 29-18, including overtime wins in Games 5 and 7 at Boston, Game 5 at Toronto, and Games 1 & 2 at Carolina. Sergei Bobrovsky has started and won each of Florida’s past seven road games.

CATS VS. CANES
Florida face off against Carolina in the postseason for the first time. The two clubs share several connections, notably:

  • The series will be the first to feature three brothers (Eric, Marc and Jordan Staal) since Brent Sutter (CHI) defeated Rich & Ron Sutter (STL) in the 1992 Norris Division Semifinals. Jared Staal serves as an assistant coach for Florida’s AHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers.
  • Eric Staal, a first-round selection (2nd overall) by Carolina in the 2003 NHL Draft, led the Canes to the club’s first Stanley Cup in 2005-06, posting a team-high (and franchise record) 28 playoff points (9-19-28) during their run. The team was captained by current Carolina head coach Rod Brind’Amour. Eric would go on to serve as the Hurricanes captain from 2009-10 to 2015-16.
  • Florida Head Coach Paul Maurice served as bench boss for the Hurricanes franchise for 13 total seasons (1995-96 to 2003-04, 2008-09 to 2011-12), including their first year in Raleigh after moving from Hartford prior to the 1997-98 season. Maurice coached the franchise to the 2002 Stanley Cup Final and 2009 Eastern Conference Final.
  • Florida Assistant Coach Tuomo Ruutu skated in 378 games with Carolina from 2007-08 to 2013-14, amassing 216 points (90-126-216).
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