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Does Carolina need a goalie before it’s too late?

Mar 29, 2013, 3:00 PM EDT

Branson Prust #8 of the Montreal Canadiens scores a goal against Justin Peters #35 of the Carolina Hurricanes during the first period at PNC Arena on March 7, 2013 in Raleigh, North Carolina.
(March 6, 2013 - Source: Grant Halverson/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

Nothing has gone right for the Carolina Hurricanes lately. With goaltenders Cam Ward and Dan Ellis nursing injuries, the Hurricanes have been forced to start Justin Peters in back-to-back games.

Peters, who was playing in his 35th career NHL contests, allowed four goals on 34 shots in Carolina’s seventh straight loss on Thursday.

“The bottom line is this: we didn’t get the saves,” Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller told NHL.com. “We didn’t get the saves at the right time and it cost us.”

Ellis (leg) might be back in the not too distant future, but Cam Ward is likely still weeks away from returning from a sprained MCL. There’s no guarantee Ward will even return this season, but even if he does, it might be too late for the Hurricanes’ playoff chances.

At the moment, they’re three points shy of eighth place, so all hope isn’t lost. With that in mind, wouldn’t it make sense for the Hurricanes to add some short-term depth to their goaltending situation?

Trading for a veteran netminder on the final season of his contract could prove to be the difference between Carolina making and missing the postseason. One prime candidate is 40-year-old Nikolai Khabibulin.

Devan Dubnyk has firmly established himself as the Edmonton Oilers’ starting goaltender at this point, but Khabibulin has a 2.30 GAA and .930 save percentage in eight games this season. He could provide the Hurricanes with some much-needed relief.

When Ellis returns, the two netminders could split the starting duties and Khabibulin would serve as an insurance policy in the playoffs should Carolina get that far.

The Hurricanes might have some competition for Khabibulin though. The Toronto Maple Leafs, for example, are reportedly interested in adding a veteran goaltender, although they might ultimately decide on a more long-term option.

The Hurricanes only have a matter of days to decide before the April 3 deadline, and the way they’ve been playing lately, you could argue they need to act immediately.

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