Next Man Up
Probably the most improbable thing about the 2-1 win Sunday is how few people Carolina actually had going by the end of the night. Trevor Van Riemsdyk, Petr Mrazek and Saku Maenalanen all left the game and did not return.
Curtis McElhinney came to the rescue relieving Mrazek and will once again take the net as Mrazek heals up. McElhinney was an outstanding compliment to Mrazek in the regular season stopping 91.2% of the shots thrown his way. His play will be a storyline in a series where goaltending has dominated.
Filling in for Van Riemsdyk, who is out indefinitely, is an easy slam dunk (Van Riemsdyk storm surge pun intended). Hadyn Fluery was the extra defenseman for this team the entire year and played games 1, 2 and 3 in round 1 for the injured Calvin De Hann. Fluery has played a ton of NHL minutes for a seventh guy on a roster and that experience will be crucial.
Who plays for Maenalanen is the big question leading into tonight. The obvious choices would be Micheal Ferland, Andrei Svechnikov or Jordan Martinook, especially the latter two. If these three can’t go, you turn to the Charlotte Checkers.
Aleksi Saarela made his NHL debut in Game 5 against Washington and was used sparingly. Other options include Janne Kuokkanen, who has played 11 games with Carolina in his career and Martin Necas, who started the season with the Hurricanes but is very unlikely to come up. Whomever the 20 guys that suit up for Carolina are tonight, the next man up mentality is in full effect.