fight

Playoff injuries continue to pile up for Hurricanes

As the Carolina Hurricanes hope to make it a long and successful Round 1 series against the Washington Capitals, and a deep run during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs in general, they’re not just facing talented opponents. They’re also facing “themselves,” and not just in a mental sense — they have to overcome the limitations on their own bodies.

Injuries are one of the top hurdles you have to overcome alongside bad bounces and hot goalies.

The good news for Carolina so far in Game 4 (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN; Live stream) is that the Hurricanes went up 1-0 with a Warren Foegele goal just 17 seconds into the contest.

The bad news is that while that good trend of a hot streak continued, a negative trend of injuries also persists. Carolina already came into Game 4 without Andrei Svechnikov because of that ill-fated fight against Alex Ovechkin, and they were also missing beefy forward Micheal Ferland thanks to an upper-body injury.

It’s unclear if Jordan Martinook will end up missing significantly time, but he needed help off the ice after an awkward bump into the boards. Martinook briefly returned toward the end of the first period, yet was not seen on the Hurricanes bench to begin the second, and the team eventually announced that he would not return for Game 4.

(You can see that unfortunate bump in the video above this post’s headline.)

Martinook isn’t a huge loss on his own, but when you consider that part of Carolina’s strength is depth and scoring by committee, the ice packs are really piling up. Consider that:

  • Martinook scored a career-high 15 goals and tied a career-high with 25 points this season, and had an assist coming into Game 4.
  • Ferland finished fourth in team scoring with 40 points, including 17 goals, and may have hit 20+ if he wasn’t limited to 71 games played.
  • Svechnikov’s been a fantastic rookie who’s flourished as he’s gained Rod Brind’Amour’s favor as the season went along. Svechnikov generated 20 goals and 37 points during the regular season, and had two goals and one assist for three points in his first three playoff games.

Those are three players who bring different abilities to the table, from grinding to having the sort of sniping skills that can break a tight postseason skirmish open – and the Hurricanes have to hope that most, if not all, of them can return to the lineup as they hope to push this Round 1 match longer.

The Hurricanes ended up winning Game 4 by a score of 2-1, tying the Round 1 series 2-2. Read more about that game here.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Fight night video: Erskine settles score with Asham

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Remember the last time the Penguins and Capitals faced one another on the ice? That was the game that Arron Asham dropped the gloves with Caps’ winger Jay Beagle, dropped the Caps forward, and let everyone know that he had just put him to sleep.  So when the two teams renewed acquaintances tonight, it wasn’t a question whether Asham would have to answer for his actions—it was a question of how long would it take before he was trading punches with someone his own size.

The answer: not long.  It only took John Erskine about five minutes to square off with Asham. The result was a flurry of roundhouse rights from both pugilists.

Video: Sean Avery and Tyler Kennedy throw down

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It didn’t take long for Sean Avery and Tyler Kennedy to come together at the beginning of Tuesday night’s game between the Rangers and Penguins. Only 16 seconds into the game, the two came together and TRIED to throw the fists. The refs broke it up before it really started and each man was given two minutes to think about his transgression. Instead, they sat in the penalty box stewing for their chance to finish what they started.

Here’s the resulting tilt:

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Video: Lucic answers the bell against Sabres

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The Sabres official Twitter feed summed it up quite nicely. It only took 1:23 into the game for the Sabres to send the message that they failed to do the last time Buffalo and Boston took the ice. On the third shift of the game – and the first time Milan Lucic took the ice – Sabres coach countered with Paul Guastad. 18,000 people in First Niagara Center knew what was coming next.

This was only the beginning of a first period that featured plenty of fireworks.

Watch this now: McGrattan and Rosehill entry for “fight of the year”

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If you love hockey fights, then you have to check out the Brian McGrattan vs. Jay Rosehill fight from tonight’s Predators/Leafs game. In fact, you need to check it out even if you aren’t a fan of the rough stuff. It’s not every night that we see a nominee for the vaunted Fight of the Year…