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Three Canes Nearing Return as Team Loses Three Others to Injury

Svechnikov, Martinook possible to play in Game 3, Ferland eyes Game 4

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

A trio of injuries ravaged the Carolina Hurricanes' lineup in Game 2 of their Second Round series against the New York Islanders.

But, aided by a two-day gap in between Games 2 and 3 and a full team practice on Tuesday, the Canes are preparing to welcome a few previously injured players back into the mix.

Andrei Svechnikov, who has been in the concussion protocol since fighting Alex Ovechkin in Game 3 of the First Round, practiced with the Canes on Tuesday and is hopeful to play in Game 3 on Wednesday.

"I feel good, great," he said after skating in a contact practice. "We'll see."

Video: Svechnikov: "It's been hard watching my team play"

"Practicing was good for him today," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "It's based on his comfort on getting into a game at this stage. He's been out for a while, but he looks good."

Svechnikov's return had been a question mark dating back to Game 6 of the First Round, but the Hurricanes opted to keep him sidelined as headaches persisted.

"We're not going to put that kid in there unless everything says he can go. The players - and that's what I love about these guys - they want to play. You want players like that," Brind'Amour said after Game 6 on April 22. "We're not going to do anything stupid there."

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Jordan Martinook was hampered by a lower-body injury in Game 4 of the First Round but gutted out an emotional return in Games 6 and 7.

"I was playing no matter what," he said after Game 6. "When you're a little kid, these are the games you want to play in. I would have played that with one arm, I think."

That return took a toll, though. Martinook didn't see the ice in either of the overtime periods of Game 7 and was held out of the lineup for the first two games of the Second Round.

After taking warm-ups and then watching his team take a 2-1 victory in Game 2, Martinook said, "See you Wednesday, boys," during Brind'Amour's postgame locker room speech.

Video: In the Room: Brind'Amour Postgame vs NYI - GM. 2

Martinook didn't practice on Tuesday, but he's still a possibility to play in Game 3, Brind'Amour said.

Micheal Ferland practiced with the Canes on Tuesday after missing the last six playoff games with a nagging upper-body injury. He said he's not likely to return for Game 3 but considers himself a "maybe" for Game 4.

"Just a couple practices with the guys to make sure my body feels good," he said. "I'm excited to get back out there, for sure. It's not fun watching your team."

Video: Ferland:"I've just been waiting to get a practice in"

"When he's ready to go, he'll go," Brind'Amour said. "It's nice that he had a practice. I think that's really what his concern was."

The news of these impending lineup additions is well-timed, considering the Hurricanes were dealt three rotten hands on Sunday.

The Hurricanes lost Trevor van Riemsdyk to an upper-body injury on his first shift. Brind'Amour said Monday that the defenseman is "out," and it doesn't sound like he'll be back any time soon. Haydn Fleury, who played three games in the First Round in the absence of Calvin de Haan, is expected to draw in.

The Canes then lost Petr Mrazek to a lower-body injury in the second period. The outlook on that isn't so grim, but it will keep the netminder sidelined for at least Game 3.

"It's not as bad as we feared, but you've got to be careful with it," Brind'Amour said. "It's a nagging thing. I don't know how long it's going to go, but it shouldn't be too long."

Video: Rod Brind'Amour: "We're a young group"

Losing Mrazek for any stretch of time is an unfortunate development, considering he has amassed a 2.22 goals-against average, a .913 save percentage and two shutouts in nine playoff games this year. On the other hand, the Canes are supremely confident in the services of Curtis McElhinney, who became the first goaltender in NHL history to make his first three postseason appearance with three different teams and then earned his first playoff win with 17 saves on 17 shots in a relief appearance on Sunday.

"It's a luxury that we have a guy we have equal confidence in," Brind'Amour said. "We have a guy who we trust and has been good all year."

Video: Curtis McElhinney: "I've always been a team guy"

Alex Nedeljkovic was recalled from Charlotte on Monday and will serve as McElhinney's back-up in Game 3.

Finally, Saku Maenalanen exited Sunday's game in the third period, and the Hurricanes do not expect to have him back during the Second Round.

The Hurricanes bring a 2-0 Second Round series lead back to PNC Arena, which plays host to Game 3 on Wednesday and Game 4 on Friday.

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