Rod Brind'Amour will be out for the remainder of the season with ligament damage to his knee. He suffered the injury in the opening minute or so as he was sandwiched between Georges Laraque and Nathan Smith. Obviously, 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, played one of the better games that they have played all year long, and beat 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 6 hits each. Mormina and Glen Wesley each had 4. 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 1st period on a blast inside the blueline. The red hot Evgeni Malkin gave the Pens the lead early in the 2nd, 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 3rd powerplay goal of the night. I didn't realize this, but before last night Carolina had not yet scored a powerplay goal the entire month of February!
Ryan Bayda added an insurance goal later in the 3rd as the Hurricanes held on for the important win. The 3 stars were Ray Whitney, Eric Staal, and surprisngly, Frantisek Kaberle, who probably played his best game of the season as well. Kaberle led all defensemen with over 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 the other. Most importantly, the entire team played with passion and with intensity, much of which had been missing at points this year, and they 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....