Nino Niederreiter (upper body) won't play for the Hurricanes, replaced by Cedric Paquette. David Savard (upper body) won't play for the Lightning, replaced by Luke Schenn. Game 1 of Carolina and Tampa Bay is minutes away.
— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) May 30, 2021
The Athletic’s Sara Civian is also reporting that it’s very doubtful Niederreiter returns this series.
Nino Niederreiter is “very, very doubtful” for returning this series per Brind’Amour
— Sara Civ (@SaraCivian) May 31, 2021
Nino Niederreiter Injury Keeps Him Out Of Game One
Niederreiter has been a consistent bright spot in the bottom six forwards for Carolina. In his third year on the Hurricanes, he’s been consistently good for them. Playing all 56 games, he had 34 points (20 goals and 14 assists) and was a plus 20 in the plus/minus category. With a 56.7% Corsi and a 4.2 relative Corsi, it’s obvious he is a fantastic player for the Hurricanes. Niederreiter brings a physicality and energy to the team that is emulated by many other players wearing a Carolina sweater.
Moving Forward For Carolina
With Nino Niederreiter out due to injury, Cedric Paquette will take his place. An even more physical player than Niederreiter, Paquette is a fantastic replacement for Game One. However, head coach Rod Brind’Amour will have to make a decision regarding his power play. Niederreiter is usually on the second man-advantage unit, but Paquette is not skilled enough to replace him. So Brind’Amour will need to find a suitable player to take Niederreiter’s place on the power play. Scoring on the power play will be a critical factor in Carolina’s ability to win games this series. The Lightning have such a deadly power play, so the Hurricanes need to even it out.
Especially against the Lightning, physicality will be a huge factor in the series as a whole. Both teams can play fast or physically, and they will need to adjust on a nightly basis. While Paquette isn’t an elite scorer, he’s good at winning corner battles and puck battles in general. These small battles can lead to much bigger chances and are extremely important. For Game One, Paquette will need to work hard to set up his teammates for high-quality scoring chances.
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