Carolna Hurricanes Look to Continue 3-Goalie System

Geoff Burke – USA Today Sports

The three goalies traveling with the Carolina Hurricanes are continuing to turn heads as NHL commentators wonder what the organization plans are going forward. The franchise has definitely been the subject of trade rumors of late.

Incumbent starter Cam Ward has been okay with a 3.15 GAA and .895 save percentage. Regardless of the play that he is getting around him, those numbers are not acceptable for a goalie of his caliber. However, the organization is obviously loyal to Cam because of his Conn Smythe Award performance in 2005-06 that led the Canes to the Stanley Cup.

Ward has simply not looked like he’s in control of most of the games that he has started thus far for the Hurricanes. However, he is returning from injury and probably expects to get his job back, similar to the way that Evgeni Nabokov was able to get his job back after being out with a groin injury. The only complicated part is that he has two young goalies playing well in his absence, while Nabokov’s replacements were playing decent to mediocre.

Although he also does not have sufficient NHL-experience, Justin Peters looks to be the real deal with a 2.38 GAA and a .922 save percentage. He has played confidently and is very poised for a young goalie.

Peters was definitely thought to be the logical starter tonight, as Khudobin played last night against the Islanders. Instead, the Canes again called Khudobin’s number for tonight’s game.

Anton Khudobin has played very solid in goal the five games in which we have seen him for the Canes this year (2.21 GAA, .934 save percentage). The main concern for him is that 14 games for the Boston Bruins is the most that he has played for a team in his brief NHL-career as a backup. He certainly seems to be playing well, but he may prove to be the backup in this three-headed goalie conundrum.

Khudobin has strung together a few good starts recently, which has really served to complicate the situation. When one has three goalies, it can be extremely complicated to ride the hand of the hot goalie, because there is a “starter”, in this case Cam Ward, who expects to get in the game.

He was great again tonight, only allowing the Nashville Predators to score once against him in the game on a Patrick Hornqvist deflection. Just like in the New York Islanders game the night before, Khudobin was able to see the puck through traffic and keep himself composed for the whole game.

I suppose these past two nights might give him a leg up on Justin Peters for the time being. However, Peters has played over twenty games, whereas Khudobin has only played six. On the other hand, Cam Ward has played almost as many as Peters, but he is not playing as well as the other goalies.

Time will tell what the Canes will do with their three-headed goalie monster. But for now, they will just enjoy their winning streak and try to figure out a way to score more goals and push into the playoff picture.

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