The Carolina Hurricanes got the help needed in the net.
Petr Mrazek was in playoff form as he proved instrumental in the win over the Rangers.
I will admit that I was skeptical of Head Coach Rod Brind’Amour‘s decision to start Petr Mrazek in the net today. Reimer was hot in the last half of the exhibition game against the Washington Capitals, and I thought that he was the right choice solely based on that game.
However, I suspect that part of Brind’Amour’s thinking rested on Mrazek’s performance for the Carolina Hurricanes in last year’s playoffs, as he repeatedly stood on his head to carry the Canes through the playoffs.
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Mrazek was in nothing short of playoff form today. He was strong in the crease, but not afraid to venture out in vintage fashion for poke checks or to play the puck to an awaiting player. Although the Canes’ offensive performance will be the most remembered part of this contest, the offense couldn’t have succeeded without Mrazek anchoring the defense.
I wouldn’t hesitate to start Mrazek on Monday for game two. Because game three takes place on Tuesday, it might be a wise idea to start Reimer to prevent Mrazek from getting burnt out. Luckily, because Reimer played so well against the Capitals, I don’t think it would be a difficult decision.
I can’t say enough how impressed I am with this organization. The time off was no doubt difficult for every organization in the league, but the Hurricanes seem to be focused and prepared for a playoff run. The Canes built a strong foundation for the series against the Rangers by getting to the net, playing physically, and relying on strong goaltending.