Petr Mrazek will start Game 3 (8 p.m. ET; USA Network) for the Hurricanes Thursday night as they look to avoid an 0-3 deficit against the Lightning.
After making the last eight starts for Carolina, Alex Nedeljkovic will get a “mental break,” according to head coach Rod Brind’Amour. Mrazek last played when he started three of the Hurricanes’ final four regular season games.
“Petr has been ready for a while. We’ll give him a shot tonight,” Brind’Amour said. “Ned has been great. That’s not really the issue. He’s played a lot of games, and we’re going to need everyone as fresh as possible.”
Nedeljkovic, who was announced as one of the three 2020-21 Calder Trophy finalists on Thursday, has one shutout and a .923 even strength save percentage this postseason.
[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2021 Second Round schedule, TV info]
With Mrazek taking the net for Game 3, that means the Lightning will have faced five different goaltenders nine games this postseason.
“We have three capable goaltenders and three goalies we trust,” said defenseman Jaccob Slavin. “Doesn’t change our mindset going into games. We’ve talked about puck handling that Ned brings, as defensemen, we’ll make sure we’re getting back for Petr quicker. It doesn’t change confidence we have going in and what we have to do as a group of 18 skaters. We have to compete.”
Vincent Trocheck, who suffered a lower-body injury in Game 2, will take warmups but is considered doubtful to play.
LIGHTNING VS. HURRICANES (TB leads 2-0) – series livestream link
Game 1: Lightning 2, Hurricanes 1
Game 2: Lightning 2, Hurricanes 1
Game 3: Thurs. June 3: Hurricanes at Lightning, 8 p.m. ET (USA Network)
Game 4: Sat. June 5: Hurricanes at Lightning, 4 p.m. ET (USA Network)
*Game 5: Tues. June 8: Lightning at Hurricanes TBD
*Game 6: Thurs. June 10: Hurricanes at Lightning TBD
*Game 7: Sat. June 12: Lightning at Hurricanes
Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.