No. 5 Hurricanes vs. No. 4 Bruins
4 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS, NESN, FS-CR
Boston leads best-of-7 series, 3-1
David Pastrnak will be a game-time decision for the Boston Bruins, who can eliminate the Carolina Hurricanes from the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a win in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Wednesday.
The forward, who has missed the past three games, practiced Tuesday. As part of the NHL Return to Play Plan, a team is not permitted to disclose player injury or illness information.
“The other day, we thought he had an outside chance,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Now I’d give it better than that. We’ll have to make a decision in the morning.
“… If we feel he’s 100 percent, no risk of further injury, he’ll be in the lineup.”
After surrendering a 2-0 third-period lead for a 4-3 loss in Game 4, the Hurricanes will try to avoid being eliminated by the Bruins for a second straight season. They were outscored 17-5 by Boston in a four-game sweep in the 2019 Eastern Conference Final.
Teams that have a 3-1 lead are 278-29 (90.6 percent) winning a best-of-7 NHL series; 173 of those series ended in Game 5 (56.4 percent).
Carolina will play its second straight game without forward Andrei Svechnikov, who was injured late in Game 3 in Toronto, the Eastern hub city.
Here are 3 keys for Game 5:
1. Carolina’s response
Hurricanes forward Justin Williams said the third period of Game 4 might have been the ugliest he had ever seen Carolina play. The Hurricanes were outscored 4-1 and outshot 16-2.
Coach Rod Brind’Amour said there were a lot of reasons to explain how the Hurricanes could be so heavily outshot, and that he expects a better effort Wednesday.
“Turn the page,” Brind’Amour said. “Try to really just enthuse a little joy. Have some fun.”
2. Marchand staying hot
After not scoring a point in three round-robin games during the Stanley Cup Qualifiers, Bruins forward Brad Marchand has scored seven points (three goals, four assists) in this series. He’s scored in three straight games, including the goal that gave Boston a 3-2 lead at 11:40 of the third period Monday.
Most of that has come without linemate Pastrnak. Anders Bjork started Game 4 at first-line right wing, Pastrnak’s usual spot, before Charlie Coyle was moved there.
Swapping Coyle and Bjork is an example of Cassidy tapping into the pulse of the Bruins, Marchand said.
“I think he understands when guys are feeling it,” Marchand said. “You see the guys create energy and start to feed off one another. He understands that.”
3. Decisions in net
Hurricanes goalies Petr Mrazek and James Reimer have split the first four games. Mrazek started Games 1 and 3; Reimer started Games 2 and 4. Carolina has not announced a starter for Game 5.
Halak is expected to start a third straight game for Boston since Tuukka Rask opted out of the playoffs Saturday.
If the Bruins lose, it would set up an interesting scenario with Game 6 on Thursday. Either Boston would start Halak for the third time in four days, or Dan Vladar or Maxime Lagace would make his NHL postseason debut hoping to help to avoid Game 7.
Hurricanes projected lineup
Jordan Martinook — Sebastian Aho — Teuvo Teravainen
Ryan Dzingel — Vincent Trocheck — Justin Williams
Warren Foegele — Jordan Staal — Brock McGinn
Nino Niederreiter — Morgan Geekie — Martin Necas
Jaccob Slavin — Dougie Hamilton
Brady Skjei — Sami Vatanen
Jake Gardiner — Haydn Fleury
Scratched: Trevor van Riemsdyk, Clark Bishop, Steven Lorentz, Max McCormick, Jake Bean, Roland McKeown, Anton Forsberg, Alex Nedeljkovic
Unfit to play: Andrei Svechnikov, Brett Pesce, Joel Edmundson
Bruins projected lineup
Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — Charlie Coyle
Jake DeBrusk — David Krejci — Ondrej Kase
Sean Kuraly — Jack Studnicka — Anders Bjork
Joakim Nordstrom — Par Lindholm — Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara — Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug — Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk — Connor Clifton
Scratched: Trent Frederic, Zach Senyshyn, John Moore, Urho Vaakanainen, Jakub Zboril, Maxime Lagace, Jeremy Lauzon, Nick Ritchie, Karson Kuhlman
Unfit to play: David Pastrnak
Staal practiced Tuesday after leaving Game 4 when he was hit by McAvoy at 9:53 of the third period. His status for Game 5 is uncertain.