Brind’Amour expects Ferland to return; who gets the start in net?
As the Carolina Hurricanes hit the ice for warmups ahead of Thursday’s Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals in Boston, a lot of eyes will be focused on the Hurricanes as a few key lineup decisions will be revealed.
The first being the answer to the question everyone wants the most: Who starts in net in Game 1?
Me thinks it’s going to be Petr Mrazek.
Meeting with the media on Wednesday prior to jetting north to Boston for Games 1 and 2, head coach Rod Brind’Amour was not quite ready to reveal his starter.
"I think we've made a decision, but I think we better hold off,” Brind’Amour said "I've got to be like everybody else."
The Hurricanes’ bench boss did go on to leave the assembled media with a bit of a hint as to which way he was leaning, however.
“That's a good one," Brind’Amour said with a smile when asked if his starting goalie’s last name begins with an “M.”
"M for sure," he added.
Brind’Amour met with the media again in Boston on Thursday. Ready to reveal who gets the start in goal tonight, Rod?
“Not yet,” he said with a laugh. “Not yet.”
Mrazek started Carolina’s first nine games of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, leaving Game 2 of their second round series against the New York Islanders with a lower-body injury. With Mrazek out, Curtis McElhinney replaced him, going on to finish Game 2 with a win, and picking up victories in the ensuing Games 3 and 4.
Both Mrazek and McElhinney practiced on Wednesday with Mrazek between the pipes that is usually reserved for the starting goalie. The team did not skate in Boston on Thursday.
The Bruins and Hurricanes met three times during the regular season, with the Bruins winning two of those three. In each of the three, the Bruins saw a different goaltender as Mrazek, McElhinney and Scott Darling all got starts.
Mrazek was the lone goalie to pick up a win against the Bruins, making 27 saves on 30 shots in victory. McElhinny’s loss was an overtime loss back in March where he made 34 saves on 38 shots.
It sounds like Mrazek may not be the only Hurricane to return in Game 1. After missing Carolina’s last eight playoff games, Michael Ferland is expected to be in the lineup for the first time since Game 3 of the ‘Canes opening round series with the Washington Capitals.
Ferland has been sidelined with an upper-body injury. After missing practice Tuesday to meet with doctors, Ferland returned to practice Wednesday.
On Thursday, Brind’Amour made it clear that he expects Ferland to go in Game 1.
“I’m hopeful, I’m hopeful [Ferland] is going to get in there,” added Brind’Amour. “This will be—we’ve been saying that for a while it seems like. He’s going to take warmup and then I would hope he can go.”
Battling through injuries throughout most of the playoffs, Brind’Amour also expects Jordan Martinook to play in Game 1 after missing Tuesday’s practice with what was labeled as a maintenance day.
“I think he’ll go too,” said Brind’Amour. “I’m expecting both of those guys to play.”