Williams, Vatanen unfit to play for Hurricanes, miss Game 1 vs. Bruins

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Justin Williams was ruled unfit to play for the Carolina Hurricanes against the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Wednesday.

The forward is a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Hurricanes (2006) and Los Angeles Kings (2012, 2014). He’s scored 101 points (40 goals, 61 assists) in 158 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Defenseman Sami Vatanen was also out of the lineup, ruled unfit to play. He had three assists for the Hurricanes in a three-game sweep of the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers after not playing a regular-season game with them because of a lower-body injury sustained blocking a shot while playing for the New Jersey Devils on Feb. 1. He was traded to the Hurricanes on Feb. 24.

As part of the NHL Return to Play Plan, a team is not permitted to disclose player injury or illness information.

Forward Ryan Dzingel and defenseman Jake Gardiner replaced Williams and Vatanen. Dzingel was a healthy scratch in the Qualifiers. Gardiner was held without a point.

Dougie Hamilton played for the first time since Jan. 16. He had surgery the next day to repair a fractured left fibula. Hamilton led Hurricanes defensemen with 40 points (14 goals, 26 assists) in 47 games. He averaged 23:17 of ice time, an NHL career high.

The Hurricanes are the No. 5 seed in the East. The Bruins are the No. 4 seed.

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