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Second Round

Mrazek out for Hurricanes in Game 4 against Islanders

Goalie won't be rushed back from lower-body injury; McElhinney to start

by Kurt Dusterberg / Correspondent

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Petr Mrazek won't play for the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the New York Islanders at PNC Arena on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS) because of a lower-body injury sustained in Game 2.

Mrazek skated for about 20 minutes Friday with goaltending coach Mike Bales. It was the second straight day they worked on the ice together.

"They're out there right now, so that's a good sign," Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "I know he's not playing tonight, but the fact that he's out there taking shots, that's a good sign."


[RELATED: Full Islanders vs. Hurricanes series coverage]


Mrazek left the Hurricanes' 2-1 win in Game 2 on Sunday during the second period, and Brind'Amour said Thursday the goalie won't be rushed back.

"When he's 100 percent we will get him back in there," he said. "But until then you can't. There's no point. … We can't rush a goalie back. He can't play with an injury. There's a difference with a goalie, I think. [Skaters] can kind of baby it a little, hide it. A goalie can't. He has to be 100 percent in order to feel good about making his moves and exploding."

Curtis McElhinney will make his second consecutive start. He made 28 saves in Carolina's 5-2 win in Game 3 on Wednesday to give the Hurricanes a 3-0 lead in the best-of-7 series. At age 35 years, 343 days, he became the oldest goalie to make his first start in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, passing Les Binkley of the Pittsburgh Penguins (age 35 years, 306 days) in Game 1 of the 1970 NHL Quarterfinals.

Alex Nedeljkovic, recalled from Charlotte of the American Hockey League on Monday, will remain the backup.

In nine playoff games, Mrazek is 5-3 with a 2.22 goals-against average, .913 save percentage and two shutouts. McElhinney, who made 17 saves in relief in Game 2 to earn the win, has a 1.28 GAA and .957 save percentage in two postseason games.

Hurricanes forward Micheal Ferland skated Friday morning and could return for Game 4. He's missed seven games with an upper-body injury.

"I'd have to wait until he gets off (the ice)," Brind'Amour said Friday. "It's kind of his call on where he's at. We're not rushing him and he has to feel 100 percent comfortable to play his game to be in there, so we'll see."

Ferland would be the third injured forward to return to the lineup. Andrei Svechnikov played in Game 3 after missing six games with a concussion sustained in a fight with Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals in Game 3 of the first round. He had two shots on goal in 12:13 of ice time.

"He was great," Brind'Amour said Thursday. "You could see his game shape wasn't quite where he needed to be. He took short shifts and I thought he was effective when he was out there. You just hope he would continue to get better as we move on."

Svechnikov, who has three points (two goals, one assist) in four playoff games, played on a line with Lucas Wallmark and Brock McGinn.

"The first shift I was kind of nervous," he said. "I just tried to hit someone or take a hit. After that hit I feel pretty good, so it's very important to me."

Forward Jordan Martinook, who sustained a lower-body injury in Game 4 of the first round, also made his series debut Wednesday with three shots on goal in 12:02 of ice time.

"It's something I've never really had to deal with before, but in games like these it's a little easier to get up for it," Martinook said. "You've got to play through it, and this time of year it's a little easier to play through things. You've got to man up and battle through it." staff writer Tom Gulitti contributed to this report

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