Injury bug hits Hurricanes again as Mrazek, van Riemsdyk exit Game 2

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The Carolina Hurricanes needed another injury like they needed a hole in the head.

Already without the services of important pieces in Andrei Svechnikov, Micheal Ferland and Jordan Martinook, the Hurricanes added a couple more names to the infirmary on Sunday afternoon.

The puck barely dropped in Game 2 of the Round 2 series between the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders (NBC; Live stream) when the first casualty took place.

A hard, stiff hit by Cal Clutterbuck on Trevor van Riemsdyk forced the Carolina defenseman immediately out of the game just 36 seconds after the puck dropped. Van Riemsdyk was in all sorts of discomfort as he held his arm tenderly as he skated off the ice. By the first intermission, he had been ruled out of the game by the Hurricanes.

It would get worse, too.

The Hurricanes couldn’t convert on a 5-on-3 power play, couldn’t convert with the remainder of the 5-on-4, and then watched the play go in the other direction, forcing a save out of Peter Mrazek that injured him as he slid across his crease (he’d make another save while injured, too).

Mrazek got the attention of his bench and slammed his stick, presumably in anger, before making his way down the tunnel.

Mrazek has been a godsend in the playoffs for the Hurricanes. In his past six games entering Sunday, he had gone 5-1 with a .927 save percentage and two shutouts, one of which occurred in Game 1 of their current best-of-seven series as he blanked the Islanders 31 times in the game en route to an overtime win.

His fate was the same as van Riemsdyk’s — out for the rest of the game, only with a lower-body injury

Curtis McElhinney came in cold to replace Mrazek and was forced into action immediately, making a couple of quality saves. McElhinney had just 82 minutes of playoff action in his career coming into this one. His stats aren’t great, but then again, there’s no adequate sample size to draw from.

McElhinney was solid during the regular season, winning 20 games in 33 starts with a .912 save percentage and two shutouts.

Adversity hits every team in the playoffs, it just doesn’t always decimate a roster.

For the rest of the game, a guy named Todd Scarola will back up McElhinney.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck