If the Carolina Hurricanes’ offense can keep scoring goals in bunches, the team may survive the devastating injury to goaltender Cam Ward. With the Hurricanes scoring four, three, six and four goals in their last four games it may not matter who is between the pipes. The Carolina defense has held opponents to three goals or fewer in all of their last six games, and an offense led by Eric Staal, Alexander Semin and Jiri Tlusty continues to deliver on the opposite end.
The Hurricanes took down the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night behind goals from Tlusty, Joe Corvo, Jussi Jokinen and Semin. Tlusty now has goals in three of the last four games and 11 on the season. Staal’s 12 goals and 28 points lead the team, and Semin continues to quietly contribute with six goals and 17 assists on the season. Jeff Skinner has a goal and an assist in four games since returning from a concussion, and had seven goals and 14 points before being sidelined. This team has no shortage of weapons on the offensive end of things and if they can keep up their current scoring pace they could contend for the playoffs even without Ward.
Ward has an MCL sprain in his knee and is expected to miss up to eight weeks. Dan Ellis has been a solid option as his backup this season and has a 3-2-0 record with a 2.53 goals against average and one shutout. Justin Peters showed he is capable at the NHL level as well, turning aside 34 shots to get the win over the Sabres. This doesn’t guarantee that Carolina wouldn’t consider a trade deadline pickup or free agent move to solidify things in net, but for now they appear capable of surviving with things the way they are.