Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 11/08/09 at 02:39 AM ET
On Saturday night, the Hurricanes lost more than just the game. For the third time in the last four games, they scored the “all-important” first goal. For the second time in as many nights, they led after one and looked great after two. For the twelfth time in a row, though, they ended up with a loss. Not only are the losses piling up, but so are the injuries. And tonight, the Canes suffered an injury loss that they can’t afford: Cam Ward.
Early in the first period, Ward was cut by the skate of Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash, who was skating through the goal crease. Although it was well inside the crease, the contact was incidental, and nobody will blame Nash for causing the injury. Ward had to be rushed to the hospital, where he was stitched up and where he will be held overnight.
In March of 2007, Ward suffered a similar injury in a game against the Rangers. The fear was that he was going to miss the remainder of the season and that he wouldn’t be able to play for Canada in the IIHF World Championships. He only missed three games and played very well in the IIHF tournament. Hopefully this fall, he’ll be able to make a similar speedy return to the lineup.
Eric Staal and Ray Whitney are already among the injured. Adding Cam Ward to that list isn’t going to make it any easier for them to snap out of their horrible funk.
For about 50 minutes, Michael Leighton played very well in relief. Unfortunately, it was the other four minutes that determined the outcome of the game. Three quick goals to open the third period gave the Jackets what they needed to earn the 3-2 win. At least one of those goals can be blamed on a horrible defensive zone turnover, so Leighton wasn’t really the problem. However, the big guy sometimes doesn’t know how to use his own size. Sometimes he forgets that he’s in a hockey net rather than a soccer net. There were no Buick-sized holes tonight, but we’ve seen him show that before.
I will expect goaltender Justin Peters to get the call from Albany. Depending on the length of Ward’s absence, Peters might even get a start or two. At least he knows what it feels like to win a game.
Lost amongst the talk of the losing streak and the injury will be that Erik Cole scored his first goal of the season, and it was a beauty. Tim Gleason also scored a goal.
Carolina will be off until Armistice Day, when they’ll be hosting Anze Kopitar and the Kings.
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About Red and Black Hockey
David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.