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Canes’ Mrazek, Ferland at practice, say they’re ready to play

Rod Brind’Amour talks preparation for Eastern Conference Finals

Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour talks about injuries, goalies, rest and preparation
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Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour talks about injuries, goalies, rest and preparation

Goalie Petr Mrazek and forward Micheal Ferland were on the ice Monday when the Carolina Hurricanes resumed practice after two days off. That was a good sign for the Canes.

Forward Jordan Martinook then left during practice, in some discomfort. That continues to be a concern.

Canes
Carolina Hurricanes goalies coach Mike Bales talks with Petr Mrazek (34) and Curtis McElhinney (35) during practice on Monday, May 6, 2019 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. Mrazek returned to the ice on Monday after being out a week for a injury. Robert Willett rwillett@newsobserver.com

Mrazek started the first nine games of the Stanley Cup playoffs but was forced out of Game 2 of the second-round series with the New York Islanders with a lower-body injury. Curtis McElhinney came in for Mrazek and was the winner in three straight games as the Hurricanes finished off the sweep.

Ferland has been out longer, aggravating an upper-body injury that has lingered throughout the season in Game 3 of the first-round series against the Washington Capitals. Both Mrazek and Ferland said they felt fine physically after Monday’s lengthy practice at PNC Arena.

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The Canes will face the winner of the Boston Bruins-Columbus Blue Jackets second-round series in the Eastern Conference finals. The Bruins led 3-2 heading into Monday night’s game in Columbus.

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Carolina Hurricanes’ coach Rod Brind’Amour talks Micheal Ferland (79) during practice on Tuesday, April 30, 2019 at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. Ferland hopes to return to play after being out with an injury. Robert Willett rwillett@newsobserver.com

Mrazek said the injury was frustrating but that by the morning after the game he was confident “it wasn’t anything bad.” By Monday’s practice, he said, “I don’t even think about it anymore.”

Mrazek praised McElhinney’s play, saying, “Mac was outstanding and I’m very happy he played like he did and we finished the series in four games.”

Ferland said last week that he hoped to be able to return Friday for Game 4 against the Islanders at PNC Arena but was not in the lineup.

“I’m feeling really good,” Ferland said Monday. “Good little break we had now and I feel good to go. Obviously the pace is going to be a lot higher after the games I’ve missed but I just want to get in, be physical and get in the game that way, be solid in the defensive zone, get pucks deep. Try to get the game speed back.”

Martinook has been slowed by a chronic lower-body injury that has had him in and out of the lineup in the playoffs. He was able to play the final two games of the Islanders series.

Canes coach Rod Brind’Amour said Monday that decisions on who would play Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, including the starting goalie, would be made “when we have to make decisions.”

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In more than 30 years at The N&O, Chip Alexander has covered the N.C. State, UNC, Duke and East Carolina beats, and now is in his 11th season on the Carolina Hurricanes beat. Alexander, who has won numerous writing awards at the state and national level, covered the Hurricanes’ move to North Carolina in 1997 and was a part of The N&O’s coverage of the Canes’ 2006 Stanley Cup run.

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