‘Canes healing up, preparing for 1st-round meeting with Nashville

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DALLAS, TEXAS – APRIL 27: Nino Niederreiter #21 of the Carolina Hurricanes celebrates a goal with Jordan Staal #11 against the Dallas Stars in the third period at American Airlines Center on April 27, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The Carolina Hurricanes held off-ice workouts Wednesday as they continue to prepare for the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs. The ‘Canes are expected to ramp up practice intensity over the next couple of days as they await their assignment.

The ‘Canes know they’ll play the Nashville Predators, but don’t know when the series will begin.

“It hasn’t hurt our preparation,” said Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour. “We had a plan kind of Saturday on how this would go so nothing to me is changing yet. It would be nice to know, obviously, but nothing yet has affected us.”

The Hurricanes still have a few injured players on the mend. Jordan Martinook should be ready when the series gets underway, but Brock McGinn is still a question mark. Brind’Amour was asked how confident he is that the ‘Canes will be playing with a full deck come Game 1.

“Fairly, maybe,” Brind’Amour shrugged. “The way I put it, fairly.”

Brind’Amour does have three healthy goalies. All three have played well at times this season. All three want to play against Nashville. Only one, possibly two, will get that chance.

“We’ll make that decision at some point, trust me,” Brind’Amour said. “But it’s not right now.”

The Hurricanes ended the regular season with two losses to the same Predators team they’re set to face in the playoffs. In both of those games, Nashville allowed more than 10,000 fans into Bridgestone Arena, marking the largest crowd the Hurricanes played in front of this year.

“It was a big deal playing in there with that amount of fans,” Brind’Amour said. “The energy level was intense and it felt great. And now they’re saying there’s going to be more in there. That’s a big advantage.”

The Predators recently announced they will welcome more than 12,000 fans when the Hurricanes make the trek to Nashville.

“It would be nice if we could do that,” Brind’Amour said. “Our fans have been great. They may have to put a little extra effort if we don’t have that many people in there.”

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