Andrei Svechnikov growing into playoff role with Hurricanes

Andrei Svechnikov's first attempt at growing a Stanley Cup Playoff beard has produced some scruff on his chin and above his upper lip that has the makings of a decent goatee, and not much else.

"I don't like it," the Carolina Hurricanes rookie forward said Saturday.

He probably couldn't ask for much more, being follicly challenged at 19 years old, but he's not giving up.

"I'm not going to shave," he said. "After Stanley Cup only."

Wanting more has been part of Svechnikov's journey as a rookie after Carolina selected the Barnaul, Russia native with the No. 2 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. The Hurricanes brought him along slowly and held him back at times, but coach Rod Brind'Amour is taking the training wheels off now in the Eastern Conference Final against the Boston Bruins, playing Svechnikov on the top line with Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen and using him on the first power-play unit.

After losing 5-2 in Game 1 on Thursday, the Hurricanes need a win in Game 2 at TD Garden on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS) to even the best-of-7 series and Brind'Amour recognizes Svechnikov has the skill to be a difference-maker.

"There's a lot of new things we're throwing at him, but we're in a do-or-die moment now," Brind'Amour said. "We have to put the best guys out there and they have to figure it out."

Svechnikov, who has five points (three goals, two assists) in six playoff games, welcomes the chance after having 37 points (20 goals, 17 assists) in the regular season. He has been one of Carolina's best players in three playoff games since returning from a concussion that caused him to miss six games.

#hockey, #professional

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