It was an eventful night for Carolina Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek.
When it comes to the important stuff — stopping pucks to prevent goals and get a win — he was about as good as he could have possibly been by turning aside 28 out of 30 shots throughout regulation and overtime, as well as all three shots he faced in a shootout, to help lift his team to a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks and bust out of a mini-slump that had seen them lose three of their previous four.
He also had a run-in with Sharks forward Joe Thornton that saw him get punched squarely in the mask.
It all started mid-way through the second period when Thornton attempted to jab at the puck that Mrazek had covered in the crease. Mrazek, taking exception to that jab, then chased after Thornton, swung his stick at the back of Thornton’s leg, stood up to get in his face … then got punched.
There were penalties handed out here, with Thornton getting two minutes each for roughing and slashing, while Mrazek was given a two-minute minor for slashing.
Mrazek was asked after the game if it is tough getting back into the game and maintaining focus after a scrum like that, and he was quick to say that’s actually better for him because it makes him feel like he is in the game.
UPDATE: The Hurricanes had a little fun at Mrazek’s expense during Friday’s practice: