In the Carolina Hurricanes' win against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina captain Rod Brind’Amour suffered ligament damage to his knee in the opening minute or so, as he was sandwiched between Georges Laraque and Nathan Smith. He never returned to the game.
John Forslund reported after the game that the captain will be lost for the remainder of the season.
The Hurricanes responded extremely well though, playing one of their better games and beating the Penguins 4-2. They had 46 shots on goal and hustled all game long. It was a total team effort as the boys from Albany played a huge part as well.
Enough can’t be said about the defensemen who flew into town from Albany, not arriving until the 11th hour. Casey Borer, Tim Conboy, and Joey Mormina played very well.
The team as a whole had an amazing 32 hits. Borer and Erik Cole led the way with six each. Mormina and Glen Wesley each had four. Speaking of Wesley, he looked 10 years younger out there and played one of his best games of the year.
I really can’t say anything negative about the game other than Brind’Amour getting hurt. Erik Cole started off the scoring as he tipped in a shot by Ray Whitney, but Brooks Orpik evened things up later in the first period on a blast inside the blueline. The red hot Evgeni Malkin gave the Pens the lead early in the second, but Eric Staal tied the game as he slapped in a rebound.
Ray Whitney gave the Hurricanes a lead they would not relinquish as he nimbly skated through the Pittsburgh penalty killers and beat goalie Dany Sabourin, giving the Canes their third powerplay goal of the night. I didn’t realize this, but before last night Carolina had not scored a powerplay goal the entire month of February!
Ryan Bayda added an insurance goal later in the third as the Hurricanes held on for the important win.
The three stars were Ray Whitney, Eric Staal, and surprisingly, Frantisek Kaberle, who probably played his best game of the season. Kaberle led all defensemen with more than 25 minutes of time on the ice and played a very solid overall game.
There were really too many heroes to choose from as each of the players contributed in some way or another. Most importantly, the entire team played with passion and intensity (much of which had been missing at points this year) and were able to play that way for 60 minutes.
Now they have to find a way to continue on without their captain. Last year when Brind’Amour had a problem with his heel and missed a few games on the road trip out west, the Canes could barely win a face-off, let alone any games. With last night’s win they have proven they can reverse that trend, but can they maintain it? Will they need to add another warm body at center?
More analysis after lunch...