The Carolina Hurricanes are finding out about many of the less experienced players in their organization out of necessity.
In a small sample size, they like what they’ve seen.
The Hurricanes will be calling upon some relative newcomers again Saturday night when the Los Angeles Kings visit Raleigh, N.C.
“Just our organizational depth speaks volumes,” defenseman Brett Pesce said of players called up from the minor leagues making immediate contributions.
The Hurricanes beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-3 Thursday night with just 16 skaters. Three of them were on the ice for Carolina for the first time this season, including Jack Drury in his NHL debut, Stefan Noesen in his first game with the Hurricanes and Andrew Poturalski in his first NHL game in 4 1/2 years.
The situation stemmed largely from players in COVID protocols along with a couple of injuries.
Carolina team president and general manager Don Waddell said the roster set-up could improve.
“We lobbied to get players, obviously,” Waddell said. “To play short-handed for more than one game would really be tough for our players.”
Under the league’s guidelines, Waddell said the Hurricanes should be able to add two more players after one game with the active roster reduced by two. Still, those call-ups must fall under certain salary limitations.
He said the Hurricanes support the idea of trying to maintain the regular schedule, particularly after the postponement of Tuesday’s game at Minnesota.
“It’s hard to make up games,” Waddell said. “The league is going to try to continue to go forward. They want to try to play games as much as they can. I think everybody is in the same boat we are.”
The Hurricanes, who’ve won five of their last six games, received a boost Thursday night from the return of Pesce and defenseman Tony DeAngelo, who scored a goal. They had missed seven straight games because of COVID protocols.
Pesce was on the ice for more than 23 minutes and DeAngelo logged more than 19 minutes.
“It says a lot about those two guys that they can step in, not playing in forever, and not miss a beat,” said coach Rod Brind’Amour, whose team has another home game slated for Sunday.
This will be the third stop in a four-game road trip for the Kings, who’ve won three of their last four games overall. They topped the Florida Panthers 4-1 on Thursday night.
“We’ve had a very streaky team thus far,” Kings forward Dustin Brown said. “It’s important to find the momentum and keep the momentum going.”
Both teams had players score their first NHL goals Thursday night. For Los Angeles, it was Matt Kiersted. For Carolina, it was Drury.
The Kings will be playing a second game in a row against a team with roster replacements because of COVID protocols and injuries. Florida used 16 skaters in that game.
Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick has posted victories in four of his last five outings — so in less than two weeks, he has doubled his season wins total.
“He has been outstanding,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said.
Carolina won 5-4 on Nov. 20 at Los Angeles in the first meeting of the season.
–Field Level Media