It’s going to be a tense next 24 hours in Carolina.
Starting goalie Scott Darling left Sunday’s game against the Nashville Predators with a lower-body injury and did not return.
Darling wasn’t having the best of days before picking up the knock, allowing three goals on 20 shots.
He had been very good in his previous outing, allowing just one goal on 28 shots in a 4-1 win against the same Preds team last Tuesday.
Last week, Darling made the declaration that he would be “the guy this year that I was signed to be for this team,” in an interview with NHL.com.
In the revealing story, Darling said he dropped nearly 30 pounds over the offseason after what he described as a “rough year.”
“It was a lonely, kind of depressing year,” Darling told the NHL’s Dan Rosen.
Darling admitted to not working out last summer, not long after signing a four-year deal worth $16.6 million with the Hurricanes as a free agent.
The result was an awful first season in Carolina. Darling started 40 games and had a dreadful .888 save percentage to go along with a 13-21-7 record.
Darling was supposed to be the successor to Cam Ward. Instead, Ward played more games and was the superior goalie, although not by much.
Ward is now gone, and Petr Mrazek, who took the place of Darling on Sunday after the injury, is the backup — although it may be more of a 1A, 1B sort of deal.
Either way, given the summer and the renewed focus, there was hope among the Hurricanes’ fan base that Darling could live up to his potential after reinventing himself after last season.
Now, they’ll be hoping he’s not sidelined that long.
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Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck