It was a bittersweet win for the Carolina Hurricanes last night. The Canes battled 4th seed Pittsburgh Penguins and rose victorious (4-1).
A dark cloud has been raining injuries on Pittsburgh. Penguins have been without their captain, Sidney Crosby, for 22 games. You have to wonder if the little storm cloud traveled to Raleigh as Eric Staal left the game with an upper body injury late in the second. Watching a leader like Staal fall to the ice was grueling to watch. Cam Ward told the press they wanted to win the game for Staal.
“You never want to see any player go down on the ice, let alone your captain,” Ward told the News & Observer. Matt Niskanen’s swinging hit to Staal’s head provoked no penalty call from the officials. Eric Staal did not travel to Montreal for tonight’s contest.
Well, on to happier news…
#44, Jay Harrison, continues his recent magic with an early goal in the first with the assist of Cole and McBain. Despite some rough play by Penguins’ Mike Rupp and Matt Cooke, Canes dominated the ice. Joe Corvo scored his 10th on a power play with roughly three minutes remaining in the first round.
Pittsburgh received their first power play chance at 18:29 in the second as Ruuto sat for tripping. Jamie McBain offered another opportunity (interference), but the Penguins failed to convert.
Fans were treated to an extrodinary play by Eric Staal and Erik Cole. It.Was.Beautiful. Staal gained control of the puck off Joslin and waited for Cole to take prime position before the net. Cole caught the pretty pass and fired with perfect precision.
“Eric’s pass there was pretty sick,” Cole noted.
Pascual Dupuis scored Pittsburgh’s only goal with 4:24 remaining in the second period. Canes up 3-1 going into the second intermission.
Although the Canes returned for the final round without their captain, they managed to keep the lead. Jussi Jokinen (15) launched one into the Penguins’ net with nearly five minutes until game. Sutter and Joslin credited with the assist.
Canes win 4-1. Cam Ward worked his usual genius with 33 stops.
The Hurricanes had amazing synergy last night. Newly acquired Derek Joslin had two assists. Erik Cole performed in his 600th NHL game along former linemate Cory Stillman. We should see great chemistry from them for the reminder of the season.
Paul Maurice moved Tuomo Ruutu to center of No. 1 line in Staal’s absence.
Topics: Cam Ward, Canes, Carolina Hurricanes, Derek Joslin, Eric Staal, Erik Cole, Jamie McBain, Joe Corvo, Joni Pitkanen, Jussi Jokinen, Matt Cooke, Mike Rupp, Pascual Dupuis, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tuomo Ruutu