He wasn’t wearing a red cape, but Nino Niederreiter’s return to practice Monday got the Carolina Hurricanes excited about a possible boost to their offense when they needed it most.
Missing from the lineup the past four games with an upper body ailment suffered in practice prior to Game 1 against Tampa, the 28-year-old winger could provide much-needed scoring depth if he can return in time for the game. Tuesday. -the game in Raleigh, down 3-1.
“We are hopeful that he will play, we will find out (Tuesday),” said Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour, who said after Game 1 it was “very, very doubtful” that Niederreiter would play in the series.
“That was his first practice with us in a long time. But it was a good sign. It looked good and we obviously need it. Obviously you have a certain knack for scoring goals when you add it there, sure. ”
Niederreiter, who was the team’s second top scorer this year with 20, skated down the third row with Martin Necas and Jordan Martinook.
“We obviously miss him,” said Necas, whose club has struggled to score in the series. “He is a big part of our team. We miss some guys right now, but if he’s going to come in, and it looks like he will, then he’s a huge help to us, and I’m excited to play with him. “
The ‘Canes could also have Vincent Trochek (lower body) and Warren Foegele (upper body) in the lineup as well, though neither of them skated on Monday.
“Vincent, I think, is going to try (Tuesday), I hope,” said the coach.
Same with Foegs. Both are kind of playtime. “
Brind’Amour did not shed light on the most important decision you have to make, although the answer seems clear.
“I haven’t (made a decision) on the goalkeeper yet,” Brind’Amour said.
His hunch paid off when he replaced Alex Nedeljkovic for Game 3, allowing Petr Mrazek to make 35 saves in his first appearance in nearly a month.
However, in Game 4, Mrazek allowed several weak goals, stopping only 20 of 26 shots, so it is likely that Nedeljkovic will return to the opening concert he had during the first eight games of these playoffs.
The numbers would support such a move, as Nedeljkovic has a .920 save percentage and a 2.18 GAA in these playoffs, compared to Mrazek, who is at .873 and 3.90.
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PENALTY PROBLEMS PERSIST
In a close series that has been a coin flip during the 5v5 game, the Lightning have a 3-1 series lead due to their power play.
Operating at an efficiency of 41.2 percent, the best in the league, the Lightning have simply capitalized on penalties from the opposition.
Best believes that the hurricanes have discussed the need for more discipline.
“We know how good his power game is,” said Dougie Hamilton. “Nobody is trying to take a penalty. You don’t go out saying. ‘I’m going to take a penalty.’ The game happens quite fast sometimes. We have to do our best to stay out of the box, limit his power play possibilities and that will give us a better chance of winning. “
Lightning’s coach Jon Cooper was enlightened when asked about Gerard Gallant’s success in winning World Championship gold as coach of Team Canada on Sunday.
“I couldn’t be more proud,” said Cooper, who had the free agent coach as an assistant when they finished second at the 2017 World Cup, losing in overtime to Sweden.
“I was texting with (Gallant) at every game when they started to make progress. I was excited when they won. “
When asked why he thought Gallant was such a successful trainer, Cooper explained.
“The one thing about Turk is that there’s nothing he asks of his players that he wouldn’t have done himself,” Cooper said.
“He sends a message that you really want to go out there and play for him and that’s what good coaches do. You are making your point in a way that the players understand. It is simple in its approach, but extremely effective. It was amazing to have him on our staff. Ironically, he was between jobs at the time and ended up landing the Las Vegas job. There’s a reason the teams he coaches win. He gets a plan, communicates it, and then leads the guys. “
Do you think you know how this year’s playoffs will play out? Before each round, from Round 1 to the Stanley Cup Final, predict the winners and the number of games in each series and answer some supporting questions.
• The Hurricanes will try to avoid elimination in the right place, as PNC Arena saw the team go 20-3-5 at home this year. However, the team’s perfect 3-0 home playoff record was ruined when Tampa Bay stole the first two games of the series at Raleigh.
• Both teams used an extra day between games to give the boys a break.
“Especially the way (Game 4) was and how it ended, it was nice to have a day to get away from it and then a day now to restart and obviously focus on the most important game of the year for us.” said Brind’Amour, who thought motivation and pressure were not concerns given the 3-1 series deficit.
“In fact, I think they are easier games to play because you know there is no tomorrow. You have to risk everything. ”