Goaltending remains the question – the eternal one, really – for the Carolina Hurricanes, even as Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney have provided some satisfying short-term answers.
As great an addition as Nino Niederreiter has been, the combined play of Mrazek and McElhinney has been instrumental in the Hurricanes’ success, even if those “jerks” and their celebrations have taken most of the attention.
There’s something remarkable and unlikely about each situation.
In the case of Mrazek, his numbers transform to become more impressive than when they first meet the eye. Just consider his erratic split stats.
October: .887 save percentage in seven games
November: .840 in one game
December: .917 save percentage in eight games
January: .880 in seven GP
February: .935 in five GP
While Mrazek’s overall save percentage is mediocre at .902, his even-strength mark is at .922 this season. If he can get things together on the penalty kill, his numbers could climb quite nicely.
Mrazek, 27, might be getting his career back on track – maybe – but the even more intriguing story is that of McElhinney. With a .946 save percentage in February, Mac is even hotter than Mrazek, yet the 35-year-old has sustained that over a longer haul in 2018-19, as his save percentage is a very nice .920 in 22 games.