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Reimer, Mrazek unlikely to play for Hurricanes in back-to-back

Goalies sidelined; Nedeljkovic or Forsberg expected to start against Avalanche, Canadiens

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Alex Nedeljkovic and Anton Forsberg are likely to be the goalies for the Carolina Hurricanes when they play back-to-back games this weekend, beginning Friday against the Colorado Avalanche (7 p.m. ET; FS-CR, ALT, NHL.TV).

Nedeljkovic made 12 saves on 16 shots in a 4-1 loss to the Dallas Stars on Tuesday when Forsberg was the backup. Petr Mrazek (concussion) and James Reimer (lower body) were injured in a 6-3 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

Reimer made one save before being replaced at 6:10 of the first period by Mrazek, who made 14 saves on 15 shots before leaving 11:19 into in the second period. David Ayres, a 42-year-old emergency backup goalie, made eight saves on 10 shots in 28:41 and got the win.

"We want Petr and [Reimer] to get back, but until they do, we're real confident in both these guys," coach Rod Brind'Amour said Tuesday.

Nedeljkovic is 0-1-0 this season and has three games of NHL experience. Forsberg has not played in the League since the 2017-18 season and is 11-24-4 in 45 NHL games (39 starts).

"It's exciting. It's another [Stanley Cup] Playoff battle right now that the guys are in," Nedeljkovic said Monday. "It's a chance to show what I can do. I'm just going to try to do what I can, stop pucks and give the guys the best chance to win a game."

Though Brind'Amour said Monday the injuries to Reimer and Mrazek were not short term, he clarified that Tuesday.

"Long term for me is a week," Brind'Amour said. "That's two, three, four games. That's a lot when you only have 20 left."

Mrazek is expected to return before Reimer, general manager Don Waddell said.

"He's symptom-free right now," Waddell said Monday. "He's got more of a neck injury from getting hit like he did. He hasn't had a headache. But you go through the protocol and let time elapse. You don't know. It might linger around for five or 10 days, but we don't think it's long. He's got no history of it."

The Hurricanes (35-23-4), who visit the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, are two points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

"It's not a good thing that someone gets hurt, but it's an opportunity for us," Forsberg said. "It's obviously a lot of fun to be up here."

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