The Wraparound: Getting Mrazek back is Step 1 for Hurricanes
The Wraparound is your daily look at the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. We’ll break down each day’s matchups with the all-important television and live streaming information included.
Let’s not take anything away from Curtis McElhinney here.
He was sensational in his two starts to close out the New York Islanders in Round 2, and stopped 17-of-17 shots in Game 2 after coming in to relieve the injured Petr Mrazek.
But the Boston Bruins aren’t the Islanders, and the Carolina Hurricanes need their No. 1 in this series.
The good news is that it looks as if Mrazek is set to start Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN; live stream). As the above suggests, Mrazek hasn’t played since Game 2 when he left in the second period after sliding across his crease to make a save.
Before that, Mrazek set the tone in Game 1 in a 31-save shutout, his second of the postseason. The 27-year-old started the playoffs by throwing up two duds, but return with a vengeance in Game 3 against the Washington Capitals, posting an 18-save shutout. From there, his only other blemish came after giving up six in Game 5. From there, he allowed four goals in Games 6 and 7 to steer the Hurricanes past the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
The series is a lesson in how having a 1A and 1B scenario can really make a big difference.
Mrazek started just 40 games during the regular season (Tuukka Rask, who will line up across from him, started just 46).
What it also goes to show is that if Mrazek was to get injured again, Carolina has a 35-year-old ace up its sleeve with McElhinney, who won his first two playoff starts last round.
Given the Hurricanes have had five days off, and the Bruins just two, Mrazek may be called into action early in Game 1 on Thursday. That might be just what he needs to get himself situated once again.
[NBC 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]