‘Canes lose starting goalie Mrazek as 3 forwards are set to return to lineup

Carolina Hurricanes/NHL

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA – JANUARY 28: Petr Mrazek #34 of the Carolina Hurricanes looks on during the second period of their game against the Tampa Bay Lightning at PNC Arena on January 28, 2021 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The Carolina Hurricanes held a scaled-back practice Monday afternoon at the Wake Competition Center. The few players that did participate should bring a smile to the faces of fans.

Teuvo Teravainen, Warren Foegele, and Jordan Martinook have all been cleared from the COVID-19 protocol and are expected to be in the lineup Tuesday night in Chicago. The three forwards worked out together Monday, just a few hours before the team departed for the Windy City.

Defenseman Jaccob Slavin also skated Monday but has not yet been cleared to play. If all goes well, Slavin should be able to suit up Thursday night against the Blackhawks.

The Hurricanes have done just fine without the four. They shut out reigning champion Tampa Bay on Thursday before sweeping a back-to-back set with the Dallas Stars. The Hurricanes find themselves on a four-game win streak and are 5-1-0.

Carolina received some bad news Monday, too. Goalie Petr Mrazek will be sidelined longer than the team first anticipated. He left Saturday’s game early with an upper-body injury.

“He went and got checked out again this morning and it looks like it’s going to be a little longer than hoped,” head coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “There’s a little more serious damage there. Still not sure what the process is going to be but we were hoping for it to be a little better, but it’s going to be longer is what it looks like.”

After the game, Brind’Amour and center Martin Necas said Mrazek was in good spirits and the team seemed confident the injury would not be long-term. That is not the case now. Mrazek may need surgery.

“I’m not 100 percent sure but that’s what it’s looking like,” Brind’Amour said. “I guess there’s always second opinions going on and whatever, but it’s a more serious injury than we had hoped I guess is the way to put it.”

Carolina will now appear to rely on Mrazek’s backup, James Reimer. The veteran netminder has been solid if not spectacular in the early portion of the season. He is 3-0 with a stellar goals against average of under 2.00.

Unless the Hurricanes make a trade, Alex Nedeljkovic will back up Reimer until Mrazek’s return. Nedeljkovic has played in six games over the past four seasons for Carolina, including four games a year ago when both Mrazek and Reimer were out with injuries.

The ‘Canes and Blackhawks meet in Chicago Tuesday at 8 p.m.

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