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McElhinney gets Game 3 start for Hurricanes; Mrazek still ‘day-to-day’

The Hurricanes have a strong 2-0 series lead vs. the Islanders, but it'll be a challenge for them to stay ahead as Carolina's injuries pile up.

Curtis McElhinney will get the Game 3 (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN) start on Wednesday for the Carolina Hurricanes as they look to take a 3-0 series lead on the New York Islanders.

Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour said on Tuesday that Petr Mrazek, who left Game 2 with a lower-body injury, remains “day-to-day.” Alex Nedeljkovic has been recalled from AHL Charlotte and will serve as the backup.

“With goalies it’s a little different,” Brind’Amour said. “You’ve got to be really careful. You don’t want to have something that should be a short-term thing turn into anything longer, so we’ll definitely be taking our time with that.”

Brind’Amour said that the report he received on Mrazek’s injury wasn’t as bad as initially feared. He also added it’s a “nagging thing,” but it “shouldn’t be too long” before he’s back.

This will be the 35-year-old McElhinney’s first career start in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

In other Hurricanes injury news, Micheal Ferland skated on Tuesday and said while he doesn’t expect to be in the lineup Wednesday, we could see him return for Game 4. Then there’s Andrei Svechnikov, who is a possibility for Game 3.

After being a full participant in Tuesday’s practice, Brind’Amour said the 19-year-old rookie doesn’t need approval from team doctors in order to play Wednesday, it’s just a matter of him feeling comfortable.

Svechnikov has been out since April 15 after going into concussion protocol following a Round 1 fight with Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin. The lack of practice time for the Hurricanes since the injury has delayed the process of getting the forward ready to return. Brind’Amour wanted to get Svechnikov, who ditched the full cage he’d been wearing for a longer visor than usual, involved in a contact practice to see how his body responded.

“You just don’t want to put people in when they’re unsure,” Brind’Amour said. “He’s got to be 100% sure before he goes.”

MORE: Experienced McElhinney answers the call for Hurricanes in Game 2


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.