Really, Jeff Skinner’s Sunday might represent the image the team is trying to project. Many gasped when he took the puck to the face (the young forward has dealt with concussion issues, after all), but the 21-year-old came back and scored the game-winner.
Skinner now has an outstanding 20 goals in 32 games played this season.
Then again, the real key might be Anton Khudobin’s return from injury. The 27-year-old strated off strong for Carolina, but he was sidelined from Oct. 13 to Jan. 2 with an injury. He’s now 5-0-0 with an outstanding .940 save percentage and 1.99 GAA on the season, certainly making Ward’s injury situation seem like less of a concern. (It is the season of backups, after all.)
With this win, Carolina is now 18-6-9. One might say “Imagine what they could do if they were completely healthy,” yet the Hurricanes simply seem used to this. In the case of their goaltending, it might even be a blessing in disguise.