By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Putting a six-spot on a team can lead to some changes.
For the Hurricanes, being the recipient of that six-pack may lead to a switcheroo at the goaltender position.
“We are [open to the possibility] every game,” head coach Rod Brind’Amour told the media on Monday when asked if Curtis McElhinney might start in place of Petr Mrazek in Game 3 on Tuesday night. “We talk about it every night, what we’re going to do. And yeah, we’ve had the conversations already of what we’re going to do. We haven’t finalized anything but we’ve certainly discussed the options.”
Mrazek was far from the Hurricanes’ only problem in their 6-2 loss on Sunday, and Brind’Amour stated as much.
“Game 1, we had moments where things maybe could’ve gone a different way. Game 2 was no chance,” Brind’Amour said. “So we are where we are because of their good play — I mean, their goaltender’s been good, but we haven’t really tested him that much, especially last game. I don’t know if it would have mattered if Petr was great. It wouldn’t have mattered. So certainly, we’re down 2-0, but it’s not because of goaltending from our end.”
Mrazek and McElhinney were pretty close to an even split in terms of playing time during the regular season, when Mrazek started 40 games and McElhinney started 33. Mrazek played slightly more than McElhinney down the stretch, when the Canes made their push to make the playoffs, and he was rewarded by earning the starter’s job for the postseason. But an injury forced Mrazek out of the net in Game 1 against the Islanders. McElhinney filled in and posted a .947 save percentage and 1.56 GAA to help Carolina sweep the Islanders, but Mrazek was put back in the net for the series against the Bruins.
Mrazek has given up 10 goals on 52 shots thus far in the series, good for an .808 save percentage and 5.02 GAA.
Coincidentally, the last time the Bruins made it this far in the playoffs, they forced their opponent to contemplate a goaltender change after a 6-1 win in Game 2. Ultimately, the Penguins stuck with Tomas Vokoun as the starter, but it didn’t matter, as the Bruins would sweep the series.
As for the ultimate decision, Brind’Amour remained intentionally ambiguous.
“Actually it’s an easy decision,” he said. “I know we’ve talked about it a lot, and it’d be easy if I just sat here and said we’re starting [whoever]. But we’re confident any way we go, so do we make a change? We might. But it might be for a different reason than you guys think. We’ll know tomorrow.”