The Carolina Hurricanes lost another forward – and won another playoff game.
“‘Next guy up’ has been the memo lately,” rookie Warren Foegele said.
Enough of them have stepped up to even their series with the Washington Capitals.
Carolina beat the defending Stanley Cup champions 2-1 on Thursday night to square the series at two games apiece, with Teuvo Teravainen scoring the go-ahead goal with 27.9 seconds left in the second period.
Foegele scored 17 seconds in, giving him three goals in two home games, and Petr Mrazek made 30 saves for Hurricanes.
They lost another key forward to injury yet fed off the energy of the largest hockey crowd in PNC Arena history to win their second straight on home ice after routing Washington 5-0 in Game 3. Road teams have yet to lead – much less win – in this series.
“All we’ve done,” Hurricanes captain Justin Williams said, “is hold serve.”
Alex Ovechkin scored a power-play goal and Braden Holtby finished with 22 saves for the Capitals, who hadn’t lost consecutive games in regulation since late January but lost key forward T.J. Oshie “for a while” after he was hit by Foegele late in the third, coach Todd Reirden said.
Foegele received a boarding minor for his hit with 5:08 remaining that left Oshie doubled over in pain as he skated to the dressing room.
“It was a defenceless player that was quite a distance from the boards,” Reirden said. “It’s an extremely dangerous play, and he will not be with our team for a while.”
The ensuing power play gave the Capitals their best chance to tie it down the stretch, but Mrazek stopped a pair of bang-bang shots from Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson as the penalty expired.
Oshie had been moved to Ovechkin’s top line before the game in an attempt to shake things up after that Game 3 rout. The Capitals also moved Wilson down to Evgeny Kuznetzov’s second line.
Ovechkin called the two losses in Raleigh “a wake-up call for all of us.
“We can’t hope that one guy is going to make a save or score a goal,” he added. “You have to go out there and play your game. If you don’t want to do it, don’t play.”
Injuries have been a critical subplot during the series for the Hurricanes, who have lost three forwards in two games.
“We got way more injuries than they do,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said.
The latest to go down was Jordan Martinook, who appeared to sustain a right knee injury after his heel slammed into the boards while attempting a first-period hit on Dmitry Orlov in the offensive zone. Brind’Amour said he may have reaggravated a lower body injury that has nagged him for a while.
Martinook briefly returned later in the period but did not play after that. Rookie Andrei Svechnikov was in the concussion protocol after taking a punch from Ovechkin in Game 3 and physical forward Micheal Ferland also was out with an upper body injury.
But Teravainen and Foegele were at full strength – and the Hurricanes needed them.
Teravainen put the Hurricanes up 2-1 with 27.9 seconds left in the second. Sebastian Aho passed to Nino Niederreiter, who found Teravainen streaking down the centre of the ice and he slipped the puck between Holtby’s pads for his first goal of the series.
“I don’t know what happened there,” Teravainen said. “I saw Nino get the puck, and I was a little open, so I just took a couple steps and I had a pretty good chance. … I just closed my eyes and put it in.”
That came after Ovechkin tied it at 1 with 9:25 remaining in the second and with 8 seconds left on a hooking minor to Teravainen. His one-time blast from the circle off a pass from Orlov got past a stickless Brock McGinn and by Mrazek.
Foegele, who scored the first two goals of Carolina’s Game 3 romp, immediately picked up where he left off and put them up 1-0 with the quickest goal they’ve ever scored in a playoff game. Carolina caught the Capitals with an early 2-on-nobody rush and Jaccob Slavin passed to Foegele, who scored into an open net.
“He’s a prototypical playoff guy,” Williams said of Foegele. “I feel like he’s kind of built for playoffs.”