Andrei Svechnikov

Penalties crush Hurricanes as Bruins storm back in Game 1

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The Carolina Hurricanes had their moments in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final, but penalties ended up being their Achilles’ heel in a 5-2 loss to the Boston Bruins.

The Bruins got on the board quickly thanks to Steven Kampfer, who was only in the game in the first place because Charlie McAvoy was serving a suspension. That lead was erased quickly though when Andrei Svechnikov‘s shot was deflected by Sebastian Aho just three seconds into a Hurricanes power play. Just like that, the score was 1-1 a mere 3:42 minutes into the contest.

Things calmed down after that until Greg McKegg charged hard into the net midway through the second period. Replays showed that he scored before colliding with Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask and the Bruins ultimately didn’t challenge the call, giving the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead.

Carolina’s edge wouldn’t hold though and it was largely due to a lack of discipline. Micheal Ferland was charged with interface late in the third and while the Hurricanes killed off that penalty, they weren’t so fortunate in the third. First Jordan Staal boarded Chris Wagner just 49 seconds into the frame. There might have been coincidental minors there as rookie defenseman Connor Clifton took exception to what Staal did, but Brad Marchand pulled Clifton back before the situation escalated.

That certainly isn’t a role Marchand is known for, but that wasn’t his only contribution in the period. He helped set up Marcus Johansson‘s game-tying goal on the ensuing power-play. When Dougie Hamilton took a roughing penalty at 2:41 of the third to put the Hurricanes in the box yet again, Marchand got another power-play assist, this time feeding the puck to Patrice Bergeron.

That said, the player who deserves the most credit on the Bergeron goal is arguably Jake DeBrusk, who collected the puck on his knees and got up while making the pass to Marchand to get that sequence going.

Hamilton took yet another penalty at 5:29 of the third, just to make life a little harder for the Hurricanes, but at least Carolina killed off that one. From there, the Hurricanes could not battle back. Brandon Carlo got an empty netter at 17:47 and Chris Wagner got one by Hurricanes goaltender Petr Mrazek at 17:58.

Carolina can look back at this game as a missed opportunity to take one early in Boston. The silver lining for the Hurricanes is that this series has only begun.

Hurricanes-Bruins Game 2 from TD Garden will be Sunday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. ET on NBC

Ryan Dadoun is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @RyanDadoun.

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

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.

 [NBC 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

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

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

Canes’ Svechnikov hopes to play in Game 6 after concussion

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Carolina Hurricanes rookie Andrei Svechnikov hopes to play in Game 6 against the Washington Capitals on Monday after suffering a concussion in a fight with Alex Ovechkin a week earlier.

Svechnikov took part in his first full team practice on Saturday during the Hurricanes’ morning skate before Game 5 of their first-round series. The 19-year-old Russian winger wore a yellow non-contact jersey and would need to clear the NHL’s concussion protocol before he returns to game action.

Coach Rod Brind’Amour was noncommittal about Svechnikov’s status for the remainder of the series. Svechnikov is one of three Carolina forwards out with injury, along with Micheal Ferland and Jordan Martinook.

Ovechkin knocked out Svechnikov with a right hook during a fight in the first period of Game 3. Both players has said the other asked to fight.

Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Playoff injuries continue to pile up for Hurricanes

As the Carolina Hurricanes hope to make it a long and successful Round 1 series against the Washington Capitals, and a deep run during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs in general, they’re not just facing talented opponents. They’re also facing “themselves,” and not just in a mental sense — they have to overcome the limitations on their own bodies.

Injuries are one of the top hurdles you have to overcome alongside bad bounces and hot goalies.

The good news for Carolina so far in Game 4 (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN; Live stream) is that the Hurricanes went up 1-0 with a Warren Foegele goal just 17 seconds into the contest.

The bad news is that while that good trend of a hot streak continued, a negative trend of injuries also persists. Carolina already came into Game 4 without Andrei Svechnikov because of that ill-fated fight against Alex Ovechkin, and they were also missing beefy forward Micheal Ferland thanks to an upper-body injury.

It’s unclear if Jordan Martinook will end up missing significantly time, but he needed help off the ice after an awkward bump into the boards. Martinook briefly returned toward the end of the first period, yet was not seen on the Hurricanes bench to begin the second, and the team eventually announced that he would not return for Game 4.

(You can see that unfortunate bump in the video above this post’s headline.)

Martinook isn’t a huge loss on his own, but when you consider that part of Carolina’s strength is depth and scoring by committee, the ice packs are really piling up. Consider that:

  • Martinook scored a career-high 15 goals and tied a career-high with 25 points this season, and had an assist coming into Game 4.
  • Ferland finished fourth in team scoring with 40 points, including 17 goals, and may have hit 20+ if he wasn’t limited to 71 games played.
  • Svechnikov’s been a fantastic rookie who’s flourished as he’s gained Rod Brind’Amour’s favor as the season went along. Svechnikov generated 20 goals and 37 points during the regular season, and had two goals and one assist for three points in his first three playoff games.

Those are three players who bring different abilities to the table, from grinding to having the sort of sniping skills that can break a tight postseason skirmish open – and the Hurricanes have to hope that most, if not all, of them can return to the lineup as they hope to push this Round 1 match longer.

The Hurricanes ended up winning Game 4 by a score of 2-1, tying the Round 1 series 2-2. Read more about that game here.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Svechnikov in concussion protocol, unlikely for Game 4 vs. Capitals

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The news on Andrei Svechnikov is that “everything checked out,” according to Carolina Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour, and he’s in concussion protocol and did not suffer any further injury. That means 19-year-old rookie forward will likely miss Thursday’s game (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN) following his Game 3 fight with Alex Ovechkin.

“From seeing him now, he looks normal and thought he feels great,” Brind’Amour said, adding they’re going to be cautious with the player. “That’s a real positive sign.”

The two sparred midway through the first period with the Capitals captain landing a blow that took Svechnikov down. The Russian rookie needed help off the ice and was later ruled out from returning during the Hurricanes’ 5-0 victory.

[NBC 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

“First of all I hope he’s OK,” Ovechkin said afterward. “You’re right: I’m not a big fighter … He asked me to fight and I said, ‘Let’s go, yeah.’ I hope he’s OK. You don’t want to see a guy get hurt or something.”

During his Tuesday morning media scrum, Brind’Amour disputed Ovechkin’s claim that Svechnikov asked to go saying, “There’s two versions of that going around. I’ll just leave it at that.”

Without Svechnikov and Micheal Ferland, who left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury, the Hurricanes still dominated Game 3. They controlled possession, shot advantage, and, most importantly, the scoreboard.

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