Mrazek to start for Hurricanes in Game 3 against Lightning

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Petr Mrazek will start for the Carolina Hurricanes at the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Second Round on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; USA, SN, TVAS).

The Hurricanes trail the best-of-7 series after consecutive 2-1 losses at home in the first two games.

Alex Nedeljkovic, who was named a finalist for the Calder Trophy as the top rookie in the NHL on Thursday, started Games 1 and 2 against the Lightning, allowing four goals on 45 shots.

“Petr’s obviously been ready for a while, we’ll give him a shot tonight,” Hurricanes coach Rod 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 to get a victory, so change it up.”

Mrazek last played May 10, when he allowed five goals on 27 shots in a 5-0 loss to the Nashville Predators.

Mrazek was 6-2-3 with a 2.06 goals-against average, a .923 save percentage and three shutouts in 12 regular-season games. The goalie missed 31 games with a broken thumb sustained Jan. 30, played five games, and then missed seven games with a lower-body injury.

In the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, Mrazek started five of the Hurricanes eight games, going 2-3 with a 2.08 GAA and a .929 save percentage. He is 11-14 with a 2.31 GAA, a .914 save percentage and five shutouts in 27 NHL postseason games (26 starts).

Nedeljkovic is 4-4 with a 2.18 GAA, a .920 save percentage and one shutout in eight playoff games.

The Hurricanes also have James Reimer on the roster. Reimer was 15-5-2 with a 2.66 GAA and .906 save percentage in 22 games (21 starts) in the regular season.

“We have three capable goaltenders and three goalies we trust,” defenseman Jaccob Slavin said. “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.”

NHL.com staff writer Tracey Myers contributed to this report

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