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Islanders and Injuries

Monday, 10.27.2008 / 9:58 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Islanders and Injuries

Where to even start with Saturday’s eventful win over the Islanders?

Paul Branecky
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The Canes continued their early-season trend of somehow pulling out wins despite not playing their best hockey, allowing a franchise-record 60 shots in the 4-3 victory.  Cam Ward responded to sitting out the last two games in favor of Michael Leighton in a big way, raising his save percentage from .891 to .914 and making a clutch save on Doug Weight’s penalty shot with under a second left that would have tied the game.

Update: Just in from Elias Sports Bureau - Saturday's game was the first time since March 12, 1989 that a team has allowed 60 shots in regulation and still won.  Pittsburgh beat Chicago 6-5 despite being outshot 62-28 - extremely close to Saturday's 60-28 margin.

As great as it was to see Cam put in that performance and as encouraging it is to know that both goaltenders have gotten off to good starts, tomorrow night’s game in Montreal could get ugly if Carolina doesn’t bring a more consistent effort.  Their most complete game thus far was arguably the loss to Detroit, and the Canes will have to step up in the same way against another early favorite.

Unfortunately, Brandon Sutter and Joni Pitkanen, who were both injured on Long Island, won’t be available to help them do that.  Sutter is on his way back to Raleigh where he’ll be further evaluated after suffering a concussion courtesy of a frightening open-ice hit by Weight.  Pitkanen will be out 3-4 weeks after tearing a meniscus (Press Release).

According to the N&O, Dwight Helminen will be recalled to fill Sutter’s spot in the lineup.  Helminen, who had a good training camp with the Canes, has two goals and two assists in six games for AlbanyUpdate - now official.

While there isn’t a timetable for Sutter’s return yet, I don’t imagine it will be anytime soon.  We saw with Matt Cullen last season how long it can take to shake off the effects of something like that, and at this early point in the season and with such a young player, I don’t think it makes any sense to rush him, even with other players out with injuries.  Take your time and get well soon.

Some other thoughts:

  • The Canes had a lot of depth on defense to start the season, and they might end up having to use every bit of it.  With Pitkanen and Frank Kaberle out, Anton Babchuk and Josef Melichar are in the starting six, and Casey Borer, Bryan Rodney or Brett Carson could come up from Albany if something else occurs.

    With two regulars out, the early contributions of Dennis Seidenberg and Niclas Wallin can’t be understated.  Seidenberg played nearly half of the Islanders game (28:25) and led all participants with four blocked shots, while Wallin posted a +2 plus/minus rating and is now tied for the league lead with a +9.  Terrific work by those guys.
     
  • There’s been a lot of debate across the hockey world about the legality of open-ice hits to the head after Sutter’s injury.  If you haven’t seen it yet, GM Jim Rutherford stated his case quite strongly with TSN’s Bob McKenzie yesterday.

    It’s easy to take this position because, pardon the expression, we’ve been hit quite hard with that type of incident recently, but if the league could come up with an objective way to define and regulate that type of thing, I’d be all for it.  What about you?
     
  • Huge game by Chad LaRose, who scored his first two goals of the season and very nearly had another when a review determined his first-period effort didn’t cross the line.  The Canes will need that going forward.
     
  • I knew Josef Melichar reminded me of somebody, but I didn’t put it together until he got into games and I saw him in the helmet.  Is he the Czech Eric Lindros?  You decide.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
K. Versteeg 63 11 22 -6 33
E. Staal 63 10 23 -3 33
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81