Another game. Another injury. It’s been the story of the Carolina Hurricanes this season and on Wednesday night another chapter was written.
This time the Hurricanes lost to the Ottawa Senators, 3-2, and Jeff Skinner left the game after being on the bad end of a Jared Cowen open-ice hit in the first period.
It seemed that Cowen did not hit Skinner’s head, but the 20-year-old has dealt with concussion issues this past season when he missed five games at the end of February.
Chad LaRose was the first one to take on Cowen. The fight was a big miss-match as LaRose stands at 5′ 10″ and Cowen at 6′ 5″. LaRose was given 17 minutes of penalty minutes including two for instigating, five for fighting and a 10-minute misconduct.
Kevin Westgarth later took on Cowen in the second period and Tim Gleason fought Chris Neil in the third period after Gleason had been chirping at Cowen at the previous stoppage.
Skinner left the ice immediately after the hit and did not come back. If the Canadian forward has a concussion do not expect him back this season. There are only six games left and playoffs are almost out of the picture. Right now shutting down Skinner for the rest of the season makes the most sense.
In the game, the first period featured excellent goaltending that carried on throughout the game. Justin Peters made a nice glove save on Sergie Gonchar’s shot from the slot, while Craig Anderson stopped an in-close oppurtunity from LaRose after the right-winger deked to get around the Senators’ defensemen.
Around the five-minute mark of the first period it appeared that Tuomu Ruutu had scored his first goal of the season, but upon further review the Finnish native had kicked the puck in. On one camera view it looked like Ruutu had swiped the puck with his stick before crossing the line, but on others it was obvious the stick had missed the puck.
About a minute later Mika Zibanejad scored his seventh of the year to take the lead for the Sens and steal momentum. The Canes had been applying a good amount of pressure, but after the goal things began to unravel for the Canes.
In the second period Milan Michalek scored off of a Senators’ transition in the slot. Michalek curled the puck, used Jamie McBain as a shield against Peters and shot over the goalie’s right shoulder to take the two-goal lead.
Justin Faulk answered back for the Canes picking the puck up off of the end boards and firing a wrist shot. Anderson got his glove on the shot, but could not handle it, bouncing off the ice and into the back of the net.
The goal gave Carolina some momentum, but less than three minutes later Chris Neil scored on a two-on-one with a pass from Gulliame Latendrese. Joe Corvo was the lone defenseman back and pulled towards Latendresse and missed the puck as he passed over to Neil.
Anderson’s best save came against Joe Corvo when the American-goalie looked out of the play, but was able to stack the pads to rob Corvo’s chance.
The Hurricanes’ effort in the third period was not enough, but did yield one goal when Eric Staal slam-dunked a pass from Jiri Tlusty in the slot to bring the Canes within one, but the team could not score in the final three minutes to send the game to overtime.
The loss moves the Canes closer to playoff elimination which may happen this week depending on how the games end.