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Darling out 'a couple weeks' for Hurricanes

Goalie has lower-body injury sustained in final preseason game; McElhinney claimed on waivers

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Scott Darling will be out "a couple weeks, for sure" with a lower-body injury, Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour said Tuesday.

The 29-year-old goalie said he has a "minor little injury" speaking at the "We Love the Hurricanes" luncheon Tuesday and was being held out for precautionary reasons.

"I feel good, nothing major, and I hope to be back soon," Darling said in comments published by the Raleigh News & Observer.

An MRI revealed no major damage after Darling was injured in a preseason game against the Nashville Predators on Sunday.

"He looked good," Brind'Amour said. "I hate it for him almost more than anything because he put in some work this summer. The little time that we got to see him he looked different. He looked like a solid goaltender. He was giving us a lot of confidence. Even in the game he got hurt, we were not great in front of him and he was making some big saves when we needed it."

Petr Mrazek is expected to start for the Hurricanes in their season opener against the New York Islanders at PNC Arena on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; FS-CR, MSG+, NHL.TV).

"It's a setback, no doubt, but that's why we got Petr in here," Brind'Amour said of Mrazek, who signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract July 1. "It makes my decision a lot easier to who we would throw out there to start opening night. I guess that part is done and now obviously we just hope [Darling] gets healthy and back to where he was."

The Hurricanes claimed goalie Curtis McElhinney on waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs. McElhinney, 35, appeared in 18 games (15 starts) for Toronto last season, finishing 11-5-1 with a 2.15 goals-against average, a .934 save percentage and three shutouts.

"Curtis is a proven NHL goaltender," Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell said. "Scott Darling is dealing with an injury, and we see this as an opportunity to solidify our depth at the position."

Darling allowed three goals on 20 shots before being replaced by Mrazek in a 5-4 loss Sunday. He was 13-21-7 with a 3.18 GAA and .888 save percentage in 43 games last season after signing a four-year, $16.6 million contract (average annual value $4.15 million).

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