"These guys, how great they were to me, how fun", Ayres said.
While he isn't the emergency goalie and doesn't expect to make an National Hockey League debut in his lifetime, he has respect for what Ayres did on the ice. And on this night in Toronto, it was Ayres.
Ayres wound up preserving the Hurricanes' lead over the Maple Leafs; he let in two goals and made eight saves, enough to help the Hurricanes win 6-3.
Maple Leafs forward Pierre Engvall had just beaten Ayres, in net for the Carolina Hurricanes, with just under five minutes to play in the second period. He will receive some of the royalties, with the rest going to a kidney foundation of his choosing, according to the team.
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Carolina Hurricanes right wing Nino Niederreiter (21) and center Martin Necas (88) speak to Hurricanes emergency goalie David Ayres as he takes to the ice against the Toronto Maple Leafs. His post-game interview was great, and I'm glad the Leafs fans in attendance gave him a deserving ovation as he was named the first star (oh my god he was the first star in a game with Matthews, Marner, Tavares, Aho, Svechnikov, I could go on). Certainly, if I ever meet you, your drinks are on me. "I'd say 75% of the people in the crowd have his sweater on".
"I talked to Sheldon (Saturday) night", Ayres said. "I told the boys in the intermission, 'I'll be ready to go.' All I thought was keep breathing nice and slowly and relax, the shots are going to come". While there has been no official word on the matter, we're guessing Ayres will be too busy to serve as the emergency goalie once more should the unthinkable happen and two more goalies get injured. "I've been on this ice many times without fans, put fans in the mix it's a whole different game obviously, but, hey once in a lifetime, I'll take it". "Skill can be hard to play against as well, but this is a part of the game that, especially when you get late and you start to, you know, if you're fortunate enough to make the playoffs, often times it's that group that pushes you across the line. That's why you do this ... when you look back, all you have is the memories you got and you guys just gave me one ... that's a memory I'm going to have forever".
One of these things is not like the other, and that was the case on Saturday night inside the Scotiabank Arena.