RALEIGH, N.C. — Andrei Svechnikov is not expected to play when the Carolina Hurricanes visit the Washington Capitals in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Capital One Arena on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, SN360, SN1, TVAS).
Svechnikov did not play in Game 4 of the best-of-7 series, which is tied 2-2, after he was injured in a fight with Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin at 10:59 of the first period in Game 3.
“We’re going to go skate right now, and we will see how that goes, but I would doubt it,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said on Friday.
[RELATED: Full Capitals vs. Hurricanes series coverage]
Despite the loss of Svechnikov, who has three points (two goals, assist) in three games, the Hurricanes finished off a 5-0 win in Game 3 and defeated the Capitals 2-1 in Game 4 to set the stage for Saturday’s pivotal Game 5.
The 19-year-old, who had 37 points (20 goals, 17 assists) in 82 games as a rookie this season, skated while wearing a full face shield on Thursday and Friday.
Brind’Amour said forward Jordan Martinook is “pretty banged up” after leaving Game 4 with a lower-body injury. Martinook returned briefly in the first period but did not play after the first intermission. Brind’Amour said Martinook has been battling the injury for much of the season.
The Hurricanes recalled forward Aleksi Saarela from Charlotte of the American Hockey League on Friday. Saarela led Charlotte with 30 goals in 69 games this season. He is likely to make his NHL debut in Game 5.
“At this point, we’re thin everywhere, so we’re pretty much going to take the guy (Charlotte coach Mike Vellucci) thinks is the best,” Brind’Amour said.
Washington is expected to be without forward T.J. Oshie, who was injured when he was pushed into the boards by Hurricanes forward Warren Foegele with 5:08 remaining in Game 4.
Washington coach Todd Reirden said after the game that Oshie “will not be with our team for a while. He won’t be playing anytime soon.”
Brind’Amour expects Washington will rally around Oshie’s injury the same way the Hurricanes have stepped up in the absence of Svechnikov.
“I think they would anyway,” the Hurricanes coach said. “Playing at home has that effect. Obviously, now that the series is kind of a series, I expect it to be that way.”
He doesn’t think the defending Stanley Cup champions will be rattled after losing Games 3 and 4 on the road.
“A team that’s that experienced, I don’t think they get frustrated,” Brind’Amour said. “You might a little bit, but I don’t think they’re sweating it too much.”
Brind’Amour believes the Hurricanes owes some of their success to youthful exuberance.
“I enjoy being around this group. A lot of our young guys, I don’t know if they really understand how big a moment it is,” he said. “They just go out and play. Right now, they’re just having fun with it. Maybe there’s something to that. Somehow, they figure out how to not make it a big moment. Just go play.”