The Carolina Hurricanes went down fighting on Tuesday night as they lost to a desperate Senators team, 3-2 in Ottawa. There were five fighting majors in the game primarily because the Canes tried to stand up for injured teammate Jeff Skinner, who was knocked out of the game by Jared Cowen mid way through the first period.
Cowen appeared to plant his shoulder right into Skinner's head as the Hurricanes forward was trying to corral a pass by Chad LaRose at center ice. There was no penalty on the play, much to the dismay of the Carolina bench. Skinner was able to leave the ice under his own power but never returned to the game. The former Calder Trophy winner has had concussions before, including one earlier this season, and no doubt the team will be cautious with him.
LaRose jumped Cowen after the play and earned an instigator penalty for his trouble as the two tangled.
Later in the game, Kevin Westgarth invited the defenseman to dance again. Tim Gleason, Nicolas Blanchard, and Marc-Andre Bergeron drew the other fighting majors in other altercations at various points in the game.
In the meantime, there was a pretty good hockey game going on. The Hurricanes felt like they might have jumped out to a 1-0 lead on an apparent Tuomo Ruutu goal in the first period, but it was deemed the Finn kicked the puck in after a review of the play.
Shortly afterward, Mika Zibanejad made it 1-0 when Cory Conacher found him open in the slot area. At 6:00 into the second period, Milan Michalek made it 2-0 when he found an opening in the Carolina defense.
Justin Faulk would keep things close with a score a bit later, but just a couple of minutes after the Faulk goal, the puck got by Jamie McBain and the Sens took advantage of a two-on-one opportunity to make it 3-1.
Eric Staal scored late in the third off of a nice pass by Jiri Tlusty, but the Canes were unable to tie the game and skated away with another loss.
They will next fly to Winnipeg for a game against the Jets on Thursday night.
- There will be some debate on whether or not Cowen should be suspended for the hit. There seemed to be intent to hit Skinner in the head, but hockey "purists" will love that hit and will claim Skinner needs to keep his head up. It would be interesting to see what would have happened if a similar play laid out Sidney Crosby. Here is a link to the video. (Cowen hits Skinner)
- While you have to give the Carolina players who dropped their gloves kudos for effort, no one in the NHL is going to consider LaRose or Bergeron as deterrents to dirty play. The Hurricanes need to get bigger, this is something most can agree upon.
- Both teams had 34 shots on goal. The Canes were led by Faulk and LaRose who had four each.
- For audio of the team after the game, check out Canes PR.com.