Alex Nedeljkovic stated he was treating his first profession begin within the Stanley Cup Playoffs prefer it was simply one other recreation, and the Carolina Hurricanes goalie excelled on this one as a lot as he did in most of his regular-season appearances.
Nedeljkovic made 22 saves for the Hurricanes, who defeated the Nashville Predators 5-2 in Recreation 1 of the Stanley Cup First Spherical at PNC Enviornment in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Monday.
Recreation 2 shall be performed right here Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; CNBC, FX-CA, TVAS2, BSSO). Groups that win Recreation 1 are 490-222 (68.8 p.c) successful a best-of-7 NHL playoff collection, together with 7-1 within the first spherical final season.
The 25-year-old rookie allowed a objective to ahead Filip Forsberg for a 1-0 Nashville lead 12:14 into the primary interval, and Predators ahead Erik Haula scored off a deflection to tie the sport 2-2 8:41 into the second interval. In any other case, Nedeljkovic regarded calm and in management.
“I do not know if I used to be actually combating it [early],” Nedeljkovic stated. “Just some bizarre bounces perhaps and only a dangerous learn on that first objective. I received stretched out just a little bit, however I believed for probably the most half it was simply one other recreation, simply all people was just a little bit louder. You simply strive to take a look at it that method. It is simply one other recreation and we’ve three extra to go right here. However our focus is on Wednesday night time now.”
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Nedeljkovic received his alternative this season when beginning goalie Petr Mrazek missed 31 video games after having surgical procedure on his proper thumb in February. He went 15-5-3 with a 1.90 goals-against common. 932 save proportion and three shutouts in 23 video games, all begins.
Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour stated Nedeljkovic earned the beginning in Recreation 1.
“It is actually not that tough,” Brind’Amour stated. “Yeah, Petr is our man, however he is had a variety of break day, so it is not that I used to be questioning whether or not or not he might do it. We simply gave ‘Ned’ a possibility this yr and simply felt like he earned the beginning.”
Carolina captain Jordan Staal, who scored two objectives in Recreation 1, wasn’t shocked at Nedeljkovic’s efficiency.
“He is been doing that each one yr, tonight was no totally different,” Staal stated. “I believed he did an important job of dealing with the puck when he wanted to, after which clearly making some large saves and slowing the sport down once they had been getting some zone time. I believed he was simply stable the entire method by means of.”
Video: Staal propels Hurricanes previous Predators in Recreation 1
Nedeljkovic is not assuming he is the No. 1 man from right here on out. Mrazek was 6-2-3 with a 2.06 GAA, .923 save proportion and three shutouts in 12 video games, all begins, and James Reimer was 15-5-2 with a 2.66 GAA and .906 save proportion in 22 video games (21 begins). However Nedeljkovic confirmed he can deal with the playoff strain.
“Clearly ‘Mraz’ and ‘Reims’ have performed effectively all yr as effectively, so it would not be shocking to see a type of two in web the following recreation,” Nedeljkovic stated. “I imply, all people desires to play, you understand? Everyone desires to battle and get in there. Happily, the teaching employees and the fellows trusted me sufficient to offer me the beginning tonight, however it’s a must to take it at some point at a time and no matter occurs, occurs.”