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The Carolina Hurricanes are on the brink of elimination, which shocking considering how well they’ve played in this series, but the Florida Panthers have been smart, physical, opportunistic, and have Sergei Bobrovsky playing like he found the fountain of youth. Is this it for the Hurricanes? And if so, what does that mean for a team that’s been knocking at the door of cup contention for five years now?

Hurricanes to win 

Often in this situation, we see what’s called a ‘dead cat bounce’ from teams facing elimination. They throw everything but the kitchen sink at their opponent and leave everything on the ice, only to be eliminated in five.

Is that what we’ll see from Carolina tonight? Or do they have more in store for us? This is a team that’s been just outside the top contenders for the Stanley Cup every year for the last five years. You have to think they still believe in themselves, and they have dominated the flow of play in this series. Either way, I can’t see them losing this one.

Over 5.5 total goals 

Something has to give in this series at some point - the goaltending has been too good. At 5-vs-5, the Hurricanes have scored just a single goal on Bobrovsky, with an expected goal total of 10.94, while the Panthers have scored just four times with an expected goal total of 7.78, per Natural Hat Trick.

In all situations, there have only been nine total goals in this series, with both teams combining for just under 25. That’s a stupendous level of performance from the goaltenders, but eventually you have to think these two teams start lighting the lamp a little more often.

Sebastian Aho to score anytime 

The Hurricanes' best player and most dynamic scorer hasn’t hit the net so far this series, though he’s second on the team in the series with 1.7 expected goals through three games. Aho does have two primary assists and 13 shots in three games, so he isn’t playing poorly.

The fact is, Aho’s play should have netted him at least a goal by now, judging by the xG, but Bobrovsky has been unsolvable. If the Hurricanes are going to stay alive, they need to solve that puzzle tonight, and Aho can find a way.

Anthony Duclair to score anytime 

Like Aho on the other side, Duclair has done everything but score in this series, putting 11 shots on net with an expected goal total of 1.68 while adding two primary assists. Duclair has been getting great opportunities in this series, too, averaging three high-danger chances per game, which is the kind of performance that leads to goals eventually.

Where Duclair really shines is off the rush, where he can use his speed. With the Canes facing elimination, expect them to take some risks to push the offence, which will leave Duclair open for a counterattack.