Emergency backup goalie David Ayers earned his first career NHL win in relief and Warren Foegele scored twice as Carolina picked up an improbable 6-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday after the Hurricanes lost netminders James Reimer and Petr Mrazek to injury.
Martin Necas, with a goal and an assist, Lucas Wallmark, Nino Niederreiter and Sebastian Aho also scored for Carolina (35-22-4).
Alexander Kerfoot, Pierre Engvall and John Tavares replied for Toronto (32-23-8), which beat the Hurricanes 8-6 at home in another wild affair at Scotiabank Arena on Dec. 23. Kasperi Kapanen and Tyson Barrie picked up two assists each for the Leafs, while Frederik Andersen made 43 saves.
Reimer started for the Hurricanes against his former team, but left with a lower-body injury in the first period after being bowled over in his crease. He was replaced by Mrazek, who made 31 saves in Friday’s 5-2 home loss to the New York Rangers. But Carolina’s second option was hurt in the middle period after a thunderous collision with Leafs winger Kyle Clifford as both players raced for the puck along the sideboards.
Emergency backup goalie David Ayres gets the win with the Canes against Toronto, 6-3 <a href=”https://t.co/SA2Ap8wZc8″>pic.twitter.com/SA2Ap8wZc8</a>
That forced Ayers — a 42-year-old ex-junior goalie and a Zamboni driver for the AHL’s Toronto Marlies available to both teams — into action for the rest of the game between two clubs battling for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference.
After a bizarre second period that saw Carolina score four times, give up two goals, lose Mrazek, and have Ayers pressed into action, the Hurricanes made it 5-3 just 53 seconds into the third after jumping on a turnover and beating Andersen in tight.