By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Whoever Rod Brind’Amour decides to start in goal for Game 3, it won’t be known until shortly before puck drop.
The Hurricanes head coach got coy with reporters, perhaps unnecessarily so, in his pregame press conference on Tuesday in Raleigh. When asked about his starting goaltender in Game 3 at PNC Arena, Brind’Amour said he knows – but he’s not telling.
“I’ve got to probably say no,” Brind’Amour said. “Just, why not – I can’t be the guy that does that, right? I know who we’re starting, but I guess you’ll have to wait and see. Sorry. I don’t want to start that.”
Brind’Amour’s overly secretive nature is all you need to know about the Hurricanes’ goalie situation. Petr Mrazek was abysmal in the first two games of the series in Boston, allowing 10 goals with an .807 save percentage. He’s let at least a few stoppable pucks inexcusably go through.
The other option, Curtis McElhinney, played much better in his three starts, all against the Islanders last round. McElhinney allowed just four goals in three games with a .947 save rate. But it’s unlikely the 35-year-old is going to play well enough to be the Hurricanes’ savior in this series. The uncertainty plainly shows the Canes’ significant disadvantage at the position.
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy isn’t exactly known for playing these cloak-and-dagger games. True to form, he told reporters on Tuesday that forward Noel Acciari (undisclosed injury) has been cleared to play but will remain out as a coach’s decision. Oh, and there’s no mystery at starting goalie, either.
“Ours is going to be Rask, I’ll give you that,” Cassidy quipped. “There’s a tip.”
Rod Brind’Amour hasn’t announced his starting goalie yet for Game 3.— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) May 14, 2019
Bruce Cassidy: pic.twitter.com/HNQcZ14bc9
The Hurricanes have played far below the level of the Bruins on defense and certainly in goal through two games of the Eastern Conference Finals. The B’s may simply have too much firepower for them to keep up over a best-of-seven.
But if Carolina does go home early, they can blame the decisions of their head coach as well.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.