7:30 PM: Forget about just missing the series-opener. Following the head, head coach Rod Brind’Amour told reporters including Cory Lavalette of the North State Journal that Niederreiter is “very doubtful” to return in this series.
3:46 PM: The Carolina Hurricanes had a surprise lineup change just before Game 1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning Sunday as Nino Niederreiter is expected to sit out. According to Luke DeCock of the News & Observer, the forward was injured during practice Saturday and was considered questionable for the game. Former Lightning Cedric Paquette is expected to step into the lineup to replace Niederreiter.
The forward was benched for the remaining 9:49 of regulation and overtime Thursday in Game 6 against Nashville along with Jesper Fast and Steven Lorentz, but that was considered bench shortening. Of course, Niederreiter hasn’t made a major impact so far in the playoffs with just one goal and no assists in six games even though he tallied one of his best regular seasons in years with 20 goals and 34 points.
Paquette, who played with the Stanley Cup champion Lightning last season, was traded twice during the regular season before finding himself with Carolina where he has been nursing an injury, but was ready as an extra, if needed. Paquette, however, could have extra incentive to play hard against his former team.