He’s a 28-year-old goalie with just 19 saves to his professional NHL career.
He’s Curtis McElhinney, just one of the many borderline NHL goalies who spends more time on the bench or in the minors.
Last night, against the slumping Minnesota Wild, he got his first win of the season, after running a 9-11 record with the Portland Pirates, holding a 1.67 goals against average.
Let’s role clip:
Mike Smith’s groin injury may not be a hinder on the Coyotes’ potential, thanks to McElhinney.
And McElhinney, while talking after the game, didn’t hold back on conveying what it means to snag that win as a go-to guy with a team in need.
“It certainly felt like a first beginning for me all over again having been down in the minors,” the 28-year-old said. “But it was an exciting time with certainly a great result.”
McElhinney, in a pinch-hitting effort with No.1 Mike Smith still sidelined with a groin injury, backstopped the Coyotes to a 4-2 win Saturday in Minnesota against the Wild. It was McElhinney’s first start in the NHL since April 9, when McElhinney, an Ottawa Senator at the time, met the Boston Bruins.
“The first period, there was certainly the nerves that come with any first game of the season,” McElhinney said. “… But after that it was pretty smooth sailing, a little hectic in the third period. But I thought we did a pretty good job of calming the storm for the most part.”
McElhinney signed with the ‘Yotes during the offseason, projecting his ultimate goal to the kind of work he crafted Saturday: Blocking shots — 28 to be exact — en route to a convincing 4-2 win against a talented team like the Wild. Mike Yeo’s Wild, no less.
Smith, with a 15-10-3 record, certainly looks to have found a new home and ended the search for consistent play after filling the void Ilya Bryzgalov left when he signed with Philadelphia.
For McElhinney, hopefully his long-term search can come to an end, too.
Matthew Wilson is editor of Center Ice Chat. Follow him on Twitter @Mattjw24. Be sure to also Like us on Facebook and to Follow our Tumblr page.