RALEIGH — Already down two games in their first-round series against the Washington Capitals, it would have been easy for the Carolina Hurricanes to throw in the towel in Game 3 when they went down two forwards.
Not this team. Not Monday night.
Rookie Warren Foegele scored twice and added an assist, and Dougie Hamilton added two power play goals as the Hurricanes overcame first-period injuries to Andrei Svechnikov and Micheal Ferland to win their first playoff game since May 14, 2019, 5-0 in front of a rabid standing-room-only sellout crowd of 18,783 at PNC Arena.
“The crowd was awesome,” said Jordan Staal, who finished with a career-high 10 hits in the win. “It’s been a long time coming. I was really excited, personally, and I know everyone else in this room was excited to get in front of the crowd. I saw the tailgaters driving in and everything. It was really cool for me.”
Foegele opened the scoring in the first period, giving Carolina its first lead of the series, then — elevated off the fourth line due to the injuries — scored again six minutes into the second period as Carolina took over the game.
“I love these moments. I think all of us love these moments,” Foegele said. “This is when it counts, this is when it matters.”
The Capitals went nearly 23 minutes without a shot — from 7:46 left in the first until 4:47 was remaining in the second — as the Hurricanes punished the Washington defense and added to their lead with Hamilton’s power play goal at 11:40 of the middle frame.
Hamilton added another midway through the third, and then Brock McGinn capped the scoring with his first career playoff goal aside the final five minutes.
“Everybody stepped up,” captain Justin Williams said. “Warren scoring a couple goals, Dougie scoring a couple goals. It was nice that they were kind of the guys Svechnikov hangs out with quite a bit. and they picked him up, scored a couple apiece.
The first period was one of highs and lows for the Hurricanes — with the pivotal moment being the injury to Svechnikov.
Foegele’s first goal — scored when a Justin Faulk point shot deflected off of him in front of the Capitals’ net and popped into the goal past Braden Holtby (40 saves) for a 1-0 Carolina lead — was followed by two injuries.
First, Micheal Ferland went to the locker room and was later ruled out for the game with an upper body injury.
“He had an upper body thing that he said was lingering, he said affected him in Game 1 and reaggravated it,” Brind’Amour said bluntly. “So he came out.”
Then, prized rookie Andrei Svechnikov fought Washington captain Alexander Ovechkin and got the worst of it. Ovechkin connected on a couple punches, and then Svechnikov’s head looked like it hit the ice as the two tumbled to the ground. He left with help from teammates, clearly dazed.
Brind’Amour was more emotional when discussing the 19-year-old rookie.
“Svech means a lot to us,” said Brind’Amour, who added that he did not have an update on Svechnikov’s injury. “Young kid, just turned 19. So he has a special bond, I think, with our group and me too. So when you see that, it makes you sick. I’m still sick to my stomach about it.”
In what should have a triumphant locker room after the win, the realization the Hurricanes were back in the best-of-seven series was tempered by Svechnikov’s injury.
“It’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to go through on the ice,” said Hamilton, who scored his first playoff goal since May 3, 2014, with Boston. “I don’t really know what to say. I just kept thinking about him the whole game.
“I just hated seeing that. I hated the whole part of it,” he added. “It’s just something you never want to see. I just feel so bad for him. Hopefully he gets better soon. The game doesn’t really matter when something like that happens. You just can’t get that out of your head. I just hope he’s OK.”
Foegele was equally shaken by Svechnikov’s injury.
“It’s an unfortunate incident there, but that’s our brother,” he said. “You know, we stand up for each other and we knew we needed to get this win, not just for us but for him.”
It was a win Carolina needed to get back in the series, which now stands at 2-1 in favor of the Capitals with Game 4 in Raleigh on Thursday.
“I don’t know how much more I can ask of these guys,” Brind’Amour said. “They’ve gone to the well, and they just keep responding. It’s nice to have a two-day break right now — we need it more than anybody probably in the league.”
Notes: Saku Maenalanen was a healthy scratch. … Calvin de Haan skated with the team at the morning skate but missed the game and has not played this postseason. … Petr Mrazek stopped 18 shots for his fourth career playoff shutout. … The Hurricanes outshot Washington 45-18. … Hamilton has point in all three games of the series. … Ferland has played a combined 18:52 in the three games. He was ejected in Game 2 and left Game 3 after just 2:08 of ice time.