The Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes are both expected to have key pieces returning to their lineup as they enter the Eastern Conference finals tonight in Raleigh.
Teuvo Teravainen is coming back from a broken hand he suffered in Game 2 of Carolina’s first-round series against the New York Islanders.
Teravainen underwent surgery on April 22 and was said to be out for 4-to-8 weeks.
Carolina will get the perennial 60-point winger back after just over three weeks.
“When he’s at his best he’s an elite passer and he’s rated one of our better defenders.,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour told reporters on Thursday morning. “Great penalty killer and can make plays. You definitely want him in the lineup if he’s ready to go.”
Florida is expected to get Ryan Lomberg back — he was also dealing with a hand injury — after coming out of the lineup following Game 4 of their first-round series against the Boston Bruins.
On Wednesday, he was playing in place of Zac Dalpe on the fourth line next to Colin White and Eric Staal.
Eetu Luostarinen will remain on the third line with Sam Reinhart and Anton Lundell after replacing Lomberg following his injury.
Florida has taken down two of the best teams in the NHL (including the best regular season team in league history) to get to this point, but it does not get easier from here.
The Hurricanes finished second in the NHL in points — despite Matthew Tkachuk calling the Toronto Maple Leafs the “second-best team in the league” at times during the second round — and boast one of the toughest defensive systems in the league.
Will they have a chip on their shoulder because of what Tkachuk said? He thinks not.
“The Hurricanes have been unbelievable all year,” Tkachuk said.
“They were one of the top teams points-wise in the league. They gave us some trouble this year and have dominated most of the teams that they’ve played. We’re going to have our hands full and we’ll be ready.”
The starting goalies will be Sergei Bobrovsky and Frederik Andersen.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
PANTHERS (WC2) AT CAROLINA HURRICANES (MET1)
- When: Thursday, 8 p.m.
- Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh
- TV: TNT
- Radio: WQAM 560-AM, WPOW 95.6 FM2, WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- DraftKings odds — Hurricanes Favored: Money Line (-140); Puck line (-1.5, +180); Over/Under 5.5 (-125/+105). Series: Carolina -135.
- Series Schedule — Game 1: Thursday at Carolina, 8 (TNT); Game 2:Saturday at Carolina, 8 (TNT); Game 3: Monday at Florida, 8 (TNT); Game 4: Wednesday at Florida, 8 (TNT); Game 5*: Friday, May 26 at Carolina, 8 (TNT); Game 6*: Sunday, May 28 at Florida, 8 (TNT); Game 7*: Tuesday, May 30 at Carolina, 8 (TNT). *If Necessary
- Season Series: (Carolina won 2-1): Florida 3, Carolina 2 (Nov.9); Carolina 4, Florida 0 (Dec. 30); Carolina 6, Florida 4 (April 13)
- All-Time Regular Season Series: Carolina/Hartford leads 71-46-10, 11 ties
- Postseason History: First Meeting
- How They Got Here — Carolina: d. New York Islanders in 6; d. New Jersey Devils in 5. Florida: d. Boston Bruins in 7; d. Toronto Maple Leafs in 5.
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP
23 Carter Verhaeghe // 16 Sasha Barkov // 10 Anthony Duclair
21 Nick Cousins // 9 Sam Bennett // 19 Matthew Tkachuk
27 Eetu Luostarinen // 15 Anton Lundell // 13 Sam Reinhart
94 Ryan Lomberg // 12 Eric Staal // 6 Colin White
42 Gus Forsling // 5 Aaron Ekblad
18 Marc Staal // 62 Brandon Montour
28 Josh Mahura // 7 Radko Gudas
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
34 Alex Lyon
Scratched: Mike Benning, Zac Dalpe, Evan Fitzpatrick, Givani Smith, Casey Fitzgerald, Lucas Carlsson, Connor Bunnaman, Grigori Denisenko, Patrick Giles, Mack Guzda, Aleksi Heponiemi, Matt Kiersted, Santtu Kinnunen, John Ludvig, Mackie Samsoskevich, Calle Sjalin
Injured: Patric Hornqvist (LTIR-concussion)
PROJECTED CAROLINA HURRICANES LINEUP
23 Stefan Noesen // 20 Sebastian Aho // 24 Seth Jarvis
48 Jordan Martinook // 82 Jesperi Kotkaniemi // 71 Jesper Fast
86 Teuvo Teravainen // 11 Jordan Staal // 88 Martin Necas
18 Jack Drury // 26 Paul Stastny // 21 Derek Stepan
74 Jaccob Slavin // 8 Brent Burns
76 Brady Skjei // 22 Brett Pesce
41 Shayne Gostisbehere // 5 Jalen Chatfield
31 Frederik Andersen
32 Antti Raanta