NHL Buzz: Mrazek to play for Hurricanes against Blackhawks

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Welcome to the NHL Buzz. Throughout the 2020-21 season, NHL.com will have you covered with the latest news.

 
Carolina Hurricanes

Goalie Petr Mrazek will start against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; BSSO, NBCSCH, NHL.TV) after missing eight games with a lower-body injury.

“I don’t think he had a real serious injury, so it was just a matter of getting him enough practice time to feel good,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “He had a good couple days and we’ve got to get him up to speed. We’re running out of runway here, so he needs to get some game action.”

Mrazek, who missed 31 games with a dislocated right thumb sustained Jan. 30, is 5-1-2 with a 1.60 goals-against average, a .939 save percentage and three shutouts in nine games.

In Mrazek’s absence the Hurricanes have relied on rookie Alex Nedeljkovic, who is 15-4-3 with a 1.89 GAA, a .934 save percentage and three shutouts in 22 games, and James Reimer, who is 15-5-2 with a 2.66 GAA and a .906 save percentage in 22 games.

“I think it’s been the biggest improvement this year, not just the steadiness but the excellence of the goaltending,” Brind’Amour said. “It’s been very noticeable in almost every game that we’ve played. That’s really pushed us to the position we’re in.”

The Hurricanes (35-10-7) are two points ahead of the Florida Panthers for first place in the eight-team Discover Central Division and have clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. — Kurt Dusterberg

 
Boston Bruins

Brandon Carlo will return to the lineup against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; MSG, NESNplus, NHL.TV).

The defenseman has missed 18 games with an upper-body injury that Carlo said was an oblique injury.

“Brandon’s going in,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Kevan Miller is out. That was the plan, so we’re sticking to that.”

Carlo was out 10 games because of a concussion sustained March 5 on a hit by Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson. Carlo returned March 30 but sustained the oblique injury April 1, in his second game back, and has not played since.

Carlo has scored three points (two goals, one assist) in 23 games.

“Right now I’m feeling very good,” Carlo said Friday. “Obviously it’s been a process of injuries for me the past little bit here. But we have great guys around the room that have helped me gain perspective of how blessed we truly are.”

Goalie Jaroslav Halak will start for the Bruins for the first time since April 3. He has played one game, in relief of Tuukka Rask on April 23, since being removed from the NHL COVID-19 protocol list April 17.

The Bruins (31-14-6) are third in the eight-team MassMutual East Division, one point ahead of the fourth-place New York Islanders, and three points behind the first-place Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins. The Bruins clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 3-0 win against the Devils on Monday. The Bruins, Capitals, Penguins and Islanders have clinched the four playoff berths from the East. — Amalie Benjamin

 
Ottawa Senators

Defensemen Thomas Chabot and Josh Brown likely won’t play again this season, coach D.J. Smith said Tuesday.

Each was injured during a 2-1 victory against the Winnipeg Jets on Monday. Chabot played four shifts and left the game at 10:10 of the first period. Brown played 25 shifts totaling 18:21 in ice time.

“Both Chabot and Brown got dinged up yesterday,” Smith said. “We’ll know more later today. The likelihood is both won’t play the rest of the way unless we get that word today. It’s nothing serious for [Chabot] but at this point, we’re not going to put him in harm’s way unless he’s 100 percent.

“With four games left we’re not going to put guys in spots where they could hurt themselves further. We’d like them to be healthy to end the year. We’ll know a little more today, but at this point it doesn’t look good for either one of them to play again this year.”

Defensemen Jacob Bernard-Docker and Olle Alsing each could play against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; SN, RDS, NHL.TV).

It would be Bernard-Docker’s second NHL game, and the first game for Alsing, a 25-year-old Sweden-born free agent signed by the Senators on May 10, 2019.

The Senators (20-27-5) are sixth in the seven-team Scotia North Division and have been eliminated from playoff contention. — Tim Campbell

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