Sat, 04 Apr 2020

Hurricanes grasping at goalie position ahead of Stars matchup

Field Level Media
25 Feb 2020, 10:40 GMT+10

It has been pretty clear who ended the last game in net for the Carolina Hurricanes.

But going forward it's much fuzzier as the team looks to restock at the goalie position after two of its goalies when down with injuries in the same game over the weekend.

That led to the historic outing for emergency goalie David Ayres, a Zamboni driver summoned to the ice in Toronto who ended up as the winning goalie in Carolina's unlikely outcome against the Maple Leafs.

But there's another game to play, and that means that the Hurricanes will have a fourth different player in the net over a two-game period when Carolina takes on the visiting Dallas Stars Tuesday night at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C.

The Hurricanes have recalled goalies Anton Forsberg and Alex Nedeljkovic from Charlotte of the American Hockey League.

But most of the attention and buzz around hockey has been on Ayres and what he did in the 6-3 victory in Toronto.

"It's pretty special," Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "That just gave me an incredible memory. ... What a moment for him that he's going to have the rest of his life."

Goalies James Reimer (lower-body injury) and Petr Mrazek (upper-body injury) exited during the Toronto game.

Perhaps lost amid the Ayres storyline is how the Hurricanes managed to pull together.

"That's what I'm most proud of, how they handled it," Brind'Amour said. "I love the way our guys were accepting him and cheering him on. I don't know if you'll ever see anything like that ever (again)."

Forsberg has 45 games of NHL experience with Chicago and Columbus. Nedeljkovic has been considered a prospect and made his NHL debut for the Hurricanes in January 2019 in a brief call-up.

Ayres, 42, will be in attendance for Tuesday night's game as he's receiving a massive amount of recognition. The Hurricanes organization is honoring him for his sudden contribution to the team's quest to make the Eastern Conference playoffs. He had a long list of media appearances Sunday and Monday.

"Recognizing how special it was for him," Brind'Amour said. "And making it special. We've got a great group."

Also in the Toronto game, the Hurricanes lost defenseman Brett Pesce to an injury and he won't be back on the ice soon.

"That's devastating for us," Brind'Amour said. "I don't even want to think about that."

Carolina made a splash Monday at the trade deadline, trading for forward Vincent Trocheck from Florida for four players: forwards Erik Haula and Lucas Wallmark and prospects Eetu Luostarinen and Chase Priskie. Trocheck, 26, has 36 points (10 goals, 26 assists) in 55 games this season.

The Hurricanes also dealt a first-round pick to the New York Rangers for 25-year-old defenseman Brady Skjei, then sent two players -- forward Janne Kuokkanen and defenseman Fredrik Claesson -- to New Jersey for blue-liner Sami Vatanen.

As of early Monday evening, Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell called the Skjei trade unofficial as the teams await a conference call with the NHL to confirm that trade.

The Stars won 2-1 at home against Chicago on Sunday to complete a 2-1-0 homestand. It was the fifth time in the past six outings that a Dallas game was decided by a one-goal margin.

"It was much more like the Dallas Stars mentality," Stars coach Rick Bowness said of the victory against the Blackhawks. "That's more like our game, not giving them the odd-man rushes."

Those string of one-goal results have come since the Stars defeated the visiting Hurricanes 4-1 on Feb. 11.

Dallas has received clutch performances from goalie Anton Khudobin when called upon.

"You know what you're going to get when he's in the net," Bowness said. "He's going to complete and he's going to battle every shot."

This begins a three-game road stretch for the Stars.

--Field Level Media

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