The Hurricanes could have goalie Petr Mrazek back for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Bruins on Thursday.
Mrazek has been dealing with a lower-body injury after leaving Game 2 of the second-round series against the Islanders on April 28. The team initially listed Mrazek as day-to-day, but he practiced in the home net before the team left for Boston on Wednesday.
Coach Rod Brind’Amour admitted he knows who the starter will be to open the next round, but he wasn’t willing to make an official announcement just yet.
“I think we’ve made a decision, but I think we better hold off [naming a starter],” Brind’Amour said, per NHL.com. “I’ve got to be like everybody else.”
— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) May 6, 2019
Mrazek returned to practice Monday, and all signs were positive as he expressed confidence in his recovery.
“I felt very good today, good sign,” Mrazek said Monday (via Yahoo Sports). “The injury wasn’t that bad. I felt 120 percent today, to be honest.”
While Mrazek was out, Curtis McElhinney stepped up and started the next two games. He made 54 saves on 58 shots to help the Hurricanes sweep the second-round series against the Islanders and advance to the conference final for the first time since 2009.
“[McElhinney] was outstanding those two games,” Mrazek said. “I’m very happy he played like he did and we finished the series in four games.”
Mrazek, 27, has compiled a 5-3 record with a 2.22 goals against average and .913 save percentage in nine playoff games. He has stopped 210 of the 230 shots he’s faced in the postseason.
The Hurricanes will face the Bruins in Boston with Game 1 starting at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday.