There was no guarantee the Carolina Hurricanes would come out with a win against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday. After the frightening news that Cam Ward would be injured for six to eight weeks, the Hurricanes were missing one of their best players.
Joni Pitkanen, Chad LaRose and Tim Brent were also missing from the lineup due to various injuries. Even with these handicaps, the Canes were able to complete the season sweep of the Sabres with a 4-3 victory.
Possibly the best thing from the game was the play of young goaltender Justin Peters. With Ward out with injury and Dan Ellis sick, Peters started his first game of the season for the Canes, and was fantastic with a .925 save percentage and 37 saves. He managed to shut down most of the Sabres offense and secure the win.
Peters also managed to pull out an amazing stick save that you can only appreciate after watching three or four times. The excellent play of Ellis and Peters will bring confidence to the team without Ward.
It’s hard to write about a Hurricanes game and not talk about the team’s top line of Eric Staal, Jiri Tlusty and Alexander Semin. The line came up huge again with Staal and Semin both with three points. Tlusty also scored and Semin got the game-winning goal with a sick wrist shot to the top shelf.
This line has been one of the best in the league with Staal and Semin leading the league in plus minus. Both players have more points than games and have worked well with the defensive minded Tlusty.
The Hurricanes were also given some support from the third line with Jussi Jokinen earning two points. Depth scoring has been a problem for the Hurricanes in the past, but Jokinen has really got his game going on the wing of the third line. In the last three games, the Finnish forward earned five points.
The Hurricanes will truly be a dangerous team if they can get all three of their top lines working consistently.