Nino Niederreiter is "very, very doubtful" to return in the Second Round, according to Carolina Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind'Amour.
Niederreiter participated in a few drills in practice on Saturday but departed early and did not return. Brind'Amour wasn't as concerned initially, saying that "he did a little something" that he didn't think was an issue.
Unfortunately for the Canes, Niederreiter's upper-body injury is an issue, and it will likely keep him sidelined for the remainder of this Second Round series.
In Niederreiter's absence, Jordan Martinook bumped up to play on the left side with Vincent Trocheck and Martin Necas, and Cedric Paquette skated in his 92nd career playoff game. Paquette, who won the Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay in 2020, had not played since April 29, after missing the last six games of the regular season with a lower-body injury.
In Niederreiter, the Canes lose one of their two 20-goal scorers from the regular season, a winger who chipped in a goal in six games in the First Round.
"That's a goal scorer," Brind'Amour said after his team beat Andrei Vasilevskiy with just one of their 38 shots in Game 1. "You don't replace that. He's on the power play, too. That's an offensive weapon that goes out the window, but it's playoffs. It's next man up. Got to fill the shoes."
The Canes are likely to turn back to Paquette in Game 2, but Morgan Geekie, among other forwards, remains a viable depth option moving forward in the series.
"Injuries happen. That's part of the game," Brady Skjei said on Monday. "It's the next guy up. I think this team's depth is one of the strongest assets. We know the next guy up is going to step up and fill those minutes."
The Carolina Hurricanes 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs are powered by DieHard. DieHard batteries are available at Advance Auto Parts and participating Carquest locations nationwide.