The Carolina Hurricanes are surprisingly dominating the New York Islanders in the second round of the NHL Playoffs, but it is coming at a price. Carolina has a 2-0 lead going into Wednesday’s Game 3 against the NEw York Islanders, but have several players that are injured.
The Hurricanes were one of the last teams to make the playoffs, and shocked the defending Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals in the first round, eliminating them in seven games.
But in that series, three Carolina players were injured and did not play in the opening game against the Islanders. Forwards Andre Svechnikov entered concussion protocol after the third game against the Capitals. Neither has forward Michael Ferland, who suffered an upper body injury in the same game.
Hurricane coach Rod Brind’Amour told reporters Monday those two players are day to day.
More Bad News
In Game 4 of the Washington series, forward Jordan Martinook suffered what was described as a lower body injury when his heel slammed into the boards. He came back two days later, but was out for the first two games of the series with the Islanders.
Brind’Amour said Martinook is day to day, and when he went out for warmups on Sunday in New York, he determined he was unable to play.
In that game three more players left the ice with injuries. The first was defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk. He appeared to suffer a left shoulder injury on the first shift after a hard check into the boards. His absence left only five healthy blue liners, and Jaccob Slavin, Justin Faulk, and Brett Pesce all had season highs in ice time.
More work for the trio might be the norm as Brind’Amour didn’t sound too optimistic about Van Riemsdyk.
“(Van Riemsdyk) is definitely not coming back anytime soon,” Brind’Amour said.
He also added that Saku Maenalanen will also miss significant time because of a hand injury suffered when he blocked a shot in the third period.
Starting Goalie Goes Down
One of the biggest blows, however, was goalie Petr Mrazek, who went down midway through the second period in Game 2 against the Islanders, and did not return against the Islanders. Back up Curtis McElhinney, making his first appearance since April 6, finished up and stopped all 17 shots he faced.
“We were playing a pretty tight game for the most part and that’s playoff hockey in general,” McElhinney said. “You don’t want to go in there when the guys have shut it down and it’s a 5-0 game. Tonight was a fun one to be a part of.”
Brind’Amour announced Tuesday that McElhinney would be the starter on Wednesday because Mrazek was unable to play. It makes McElhinney the oldest goalie to make his first Stanley Cup Playoff start. The 35-year-old is 37 days older than Les Binkley, who made his first start for the Pittsburgh Penguins against the Oakland Seals on April 8, 1970.
“I don’t think at this point in my career anything surprises me,” McElhinney said. “I’ve been through so much. I’m grateful for the opportunity I do have right now. It’s one of those moments you check off your bucket list. Just one more challenge to look forward to.”