Carolina Hurricanes

Lack, Khudobin face off in net

The Carolina Hurricanes' Eddie Lack (31) stops the Florida Panthers' Connor Brickley (86) during the second period.
The Carolina Hurricanes' Eddie Lack (31) stops the Florida Panthers' Connor Brickley (86) during the second period. cseward@newsobserver.com

Goalies can be fickle. Some don’t mind talking to the media before games in which they’re starting and others take on a hard-line, no-talk routine.

The Canes’ Eddie Lack is a talker.

“I’m just trying to keep everybody happy,” Lack said Monday, smiling at media members surrounding his locker stall. “I do what everyone wants me to do.”

Lack will be the starter Monday against the Anaheim Ducks, a Western Conference team he has faced eight times in his career. He is 2-4-2 against Anaheim, with a 2.88 GAA.

Cam Ward has started the past four games for the Canes and six of the last seven. He’s a non-talker on days when he’s in net.

Luck is just eager to be back in net. It’s never easy to sit and wait, going through practice after practice and then spending the games wearing a cap on the bench.

“It’s a little bit tough but I’m not trying to focus on that now,” Lack said. “I’ve been playing good in practice lately and it will be fun to be out there. I just want to play my game and have some fun.”

-- Add this to the goaltending storyline: Anton Khudobin will be the Ducks’ starting goalie.

“I think he would like to play against these guys, good or bad,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said.

The Canes acquired Lack in a trade with Vancouver during the NHL Draft in June while shipping Khudobin to the Ducks for defenseman James Wisniewski.

Khudobin is 2-3-0 with a 3.08 GAA and .902 save percentage as the backup to Frederik Andersen. He started Friday against the New York Islanders, allowing four goals on 29 shots in a 4-1 loss.

Asked about his new team and a coast-to-coast move, Khudobin said, “I like it and everyone was really welcoming for me. Talking to the guys, they helped me with discovering California. I like everything there. It’s pretty cool.”

Khudobin said he was on the first day of a June vacation when he learned he had been traded.

“Maybe you’re expecting that when you hear they get Eddie,” he said. “You knew it was going to be me or (Cam) Ward.

“Trade is never a good thing -- to move everything to a new city. At the same time it’s a good team and you want to play there. From day one in California I’ve been happy.”

-- It has been a season of starts and stops for Canes forward Joakim Nordstrom.

Traded to Carolina from the Chicago Blackhawks on Sept. 11, the Swede had a visa problem that delayed his start in training camp. He played the first three games, then missed the next nine after taking a shot off a leg.

“It’s never fun being out of the lineup and being hurt,” Nordstrom said Monday. “It’s part of the sport. It’s been tough but I’m happy to put it all behind me.”

Nordstrom was injured Oct. 10 against Detroit but was determined to be in the lineup three days later against Florida. Bad idea.

“Obviously I wanted to keep playing,” he said. “It didn’t get better. I was trying to skate the day after but it got to the point I couldn’t even move around.”

Once healthy, Nordstrom was sent to Charlotte for two games with the Checkers (AHL), playing a lot of minutes. While he has not scored in six games for the Canes, he did pick up a goal with the Checkers.

“Always fun to score goals,” he said with a grin. “Hopefully I can put a few in the net here, too.”

Nordstorm again will be on a line with center Victor Rask and winger Chris Terry, saying they have the skill and he wants to “bring the speed and grit.”

-- The Canes’ Noah Hanifin is 18 and the Ducks will have a 19-year-old forward — rookie Nick Ritchie — in the lineup.

Canes coach Bill Peters talked after the morning skate about young players being better prepared to make the jump into the NHL.

His media scrum ending, Peters had one final thought about teenagers in the lineup: “They drive coaches crazy,” he said, laughing,

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