The Associated PressCOLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — When the week began, Curtis McElhinney didn’t expect to be starting an NHL game Friday night, let alone emerging as the winning goalie in a game in Columbus, where he played as a backup for five seasons.
The 35-year-old McElhinney was waived by Toronto on Monday and scooped up by Carolina on Tuesday as a backup after starter Scott Darling was injured over the weekend. He started in the second leg of a back-to-back on Friday night, stopping 31 shots as the Hurricanes beat the Blue Jackets 3-1.
McElhinney was the primary backup to Sergei Bobrovsky in Columbus from 2013-17. Playing for the Maple Leafs last season, he lost to the Blue Jackets on three separate occasions.
“It’s a nice way to get a win,” he said. “I think they got the best of me when I was playing against them on Toronto, so it’s nice to come out here and make a good first impression with the club.”
Sebastian Aho and Micheal Ferland each had a goal and an assist, and Jordan Martinook also scored to help give Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour his first NHL win and ruin the home opener for the Blue Jackets. McElhinney grabbed the puck after the final horn and gave it to the rookie coach.
“He deserved it a lot more than I did,” said Brind’Amour, a former Carolina player who has been an assistant coach for the past seven seasons. “I stood back there and yelled, and he was making all the saves.”