Today’s Daily Cup of Joe works through the Canes roster with quick hitters on what each player needs to contribute to win game 6 at home and follow that up with an improbable series win on Wednesday.
Sebastian Aho: Aho needs to find a couple of his better offensive games and look like the dynamic playmaking center that he was for most of the 2018-19 season. I think it starts with finding some combination of courage and comfort to carry the puck into the teeth of the Capitals defense instead of reverting to his v1.0 playmaking from his first year pulling up just inside the blue line to safely assess things offensively.
Clark Bishop: (Bishop was recalled on Sunday with Saarela returned to Charlotte, so he figures to be in Monday’s lineup.) I think he would have been the first call up had he not been out of the Checkers lineup and on the shelf since late March. More than any other call up possibility, Bishop brings the hard-skating forechecking that fits with what Brind’Amour wants to do right now. He needs to parachute in at full speed and be a disruptive force on the forecheck.
Patrick Brown: His role is that of another aggressive, hard-skating forechecker. He will likely play limited minutes but needs to finish checks and ideally force errant passes when he is in the game.
Calvin de Haan: If the Hurricanes have to kill penalties, de Haan has a significant role as one of the leaders on the penalty kill
Justin Faulk: His series has been Jekyl and Hyde. Faulk has played very well in the home wins but been victimized on the road losses. First is to post another strong game at home on Monday, but bigger still will be righting the ship and playing a solid defensive game in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.
Warren Foegele: His contribution to the Hurricanes success in this series is already immense, but the team really needs a couple more efforts where Foegele is the fastest and most aggressive player on the ice in the vicinity of the puck. In addition, he needs to continue going to the front of the net.
Dougie Hamilton: With the team struggling to score right now, Hamilton just needs to continue his fourth forward style of play in hopes of generating more options offensively and ideally potting another goal.
Saku Maenalanen: Maenlanen is a big body with the capability of playing physical. He needs to do exactly that for the remainder of the series and in the process be part of the answer to Washington’s physicality.
Curtis McElhinney: To be clear, I agree with Brind’Amour’s decision to stick with Mrazek in the playoffs, but part of me still wishes that McElhinney would have been rewarded for his regular season contribution with just one start. If he plays on Monday or Wednesday it will likely mean the team is down, so his calming style of play will be needed to settle things down.
Brock McGinn: He has not been rewarded with the same volume of scoring, but especially since the forward group was depleted with injury, McGinn is the player who most looks like Foegele. He needs to continue being an aggressive presence forechecking and ideally forcing a few turnovers that lead to transition chances.
Greg McKegg: McKegg’s scoring in total was that of a fourth-liner, but along the way he had three huge games offensively. If he has one more big offensive game in him, the time to spend it is now.
Petr Mrazek: After being buried underneath the Capitals game 5 outburst, Mrazek’s numbers for the series do not look impressive, but he has held up his end of the bargain in this series and was the first star in the narrow win in game 4. Mrazek needs to do only what he has been doing already which is be steady in net and make a few timely saves.
Nino Niederreiter: One lesson learned from this series is the degree to which Niederreiter is dependent on playmaking by his line mates. He really has not had much for scoring chances. So if Niederreiter receives a couple scoring chances, he needs to finish like he did during the regular season.
Brett Pesce: As Faulk’s partner, Pesce’s story is similar. As a unit (assuming no lineup changes), Pesce/Faulk needs to repeat their strong play at home but then rebound for a sounder defensive effort in game 7 on the road.
Andrei Svechnikov: Indications coming out of Sunday would suggest that Svechnikov will not return on Monday. But if one considers how de Haan was seemingly ruled out during a morning skate and then surprisingly appeared in the lineup that night, the potential is out there for gamesmanship. A Svechnikov return would boost the crowd and the team. If Svechnikov does see the ice again, he needs to channel any and all revenge in trying to reproduce his two-goal game 2.
Jaccob Slavin: Slavin has generally had a strong series despite a costly turnover early in game 5. Slavin’s base level is just to bring more of the same, but with the offense struggling right now, the team could greatly benefit if he can use his wheels to advance the puck, back up the defense and generate a transition scoring chance or two.
Jordan Staal: Staal is one of the leaders who needs to set a tone in game 5. On a team minus Ferland and Martinook who are made for the physical brand of hockey in this series, Staal needs to take on an even bigger role in making sure that the Hurricanes counter-punch enough in the physical battle(s) that will occur during the end of the series.
Teuvo Teravainen: Teravainen scored a huge game-winner in game 4, but in total has been too quiet this series. The door is still cracked open for late heroics. A bit like Aho, Teravainen needs to find a comfort level playing with the puck on his stick in the offensive zone despite the dangers of doing so.
Trevor van Riemsdyk: He has been the good version of quiet and steady in the past few games. He just needs to bring more of the same, and if he wants to go Niclas Wallin and score a huge goal like he did in the late-season game against Montreal, that would be okay too.
Lucas Wallmark: Wallmark is a player who has outperformed his level of play during the regular season. He played a key complementary role in Svechnikov’s two-goal outburst in game 2 and in general has been decent or better both offensively and defensively in total. He just needs to do more of the same for the remainder of the series.
Justin Williams: Before the puck even drops for game 5, Williams has a role to play making sure the players stay upbeat and respond. After a 6-0 loss and facing elimination, there is work to do to make sure everyone is in the right place mentally come 7pm on Monday. Past that, timing could not be better for Williams to add to his legacy as captain clutch as a playoff scorer.
What say you Canes fans?
1) What are your thoughts/additions in terms of what the Hurricanes need from each player to close out the series with two wins?
2) Which, if any, Hurricanes players do you anticipate stepping up to be heroes yet in this series?
3) What do you predict for a score on Monday night in Raleigh?