The Buffalo Sabres had a golden 2-on-1 opportunity midway through the first period of tonight’s game against Carolina and Marcus Foligno capitalized on it by burying the puck past goaltender Cam Ward.
At the same time Hurricanes defenseman Andrej Sekera was skating hard to try and get back into the play, but he ended up tripping over Ward and crashed hard into the end boards. He went to the dressing room and didn’t return before the end of the first period.
Update: Carolina has announced that Sekera has an upper-body injury and won’t return tonight.
You can see the play in the video below, including Foligno’s goal and Sekera’s injury:
Here is more of the immediate aftermath of Sekera’s injury:
Carolina has already dealt with more than its fair share of injuries so far in 2014-15. Jeff Skinner (concussion), Pat Dwyer (lower body), Eric Staal (upper body), and Jordan Staal (leg) weren’t available tonight.
Two days after a 5-1 defeat in their season opener against Florida, the ‘Canes are shuffling the deck.
That was the word out of Carolina on Monday as head coach Kirk Muller altered his lines in advance of Tuesday’s home opener against Tampa Bay.
Drayson Bowman was moved from the fourth to first line — skating with Eric Staal and Alex Semin — and Jeff Skinner was dropped from the second line (with Jordan Staal and Zac Dalpe) to the third (with Jussi Jokinen and Pat Dwyer.)
Muller insisted the changes weren’t made “in a panic way,” but Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News and Observer reports that Skinner might have been put on notice.
If there was any message being sent with the changes, it appeared to be with Skinner, who was inconsistent in his play in the opener and took a hooking penalty in the offensive zone that resulted in a 5-on-3 power-play score for Florida.
Muller and Skinner had a fairly lengthy chat on the ice after Monday’s practice.
Muller also loaded up his top power play unit after the ‘Canes went 0-for-6 with the man advantage against the Panthers. The Staals, Semin, Skinner and Joni Pitkanen were put together in what looks like — on paper, anyway — a pretty formidable offensive group.
“We thought we’d throw the five big guys out there together,” Muller said. “We’ll see how good they do together. Once we get rolling you’re not going to see a lot of changes the way it is now.
“But it’s the games where you have to tweak things until you feel comfortable.”
In other notes, Cam Ward will get the start in goal on Tuesday and Dalpe (illness) might not be available. If Dalpe can’t go, it looks like Jiri Tlusty and Chad LaRose will play on the wings next to Jordan Staal.
Jussi Jokinen signed for Karpat of the Finnish league in mid-September, played eight games, then returned to Carolina.
Now it appears he’s ready to cross the Atlantic again.
Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News and Observer reports Jokinen has signed a six-game deal with Karpat and will leave for Finland soon — but there’s a catch.
Jokinen is hopeful CBA talks will heat up to the point where the move to Karpat won’t go through.
The 29-year-old Finn decided not ink a long-term deal with Karpat in September, claiming both tax and insurance issues factored into the decision.
But he also cited a desire to resume playing in the NHL as a major factor as well, explaining that skating with Carolina teammates has filled the hockey void for the time being.
“For now, it takes a lot of motivation from within,” Jokinen said of practices that include Eric Staal, Jordan Staal, Joni Pitkanen, Jamie McBain, Jay Harrison, Pat Dwyer, Chad LaRose and Joe Corvo. “Obviously we have a lot of guys here skating and pushing each other. That helps.”
Jokinen was skating at the RCI (Raleigh Center Ice) on Monday with a handful of ‘Canes teammates. There’s no finite date on when he’ll leave for Karpat, where he’ll join fellow locked-out NHLers Jason Demers and Kyle Turris.
Don’t let the face fool you – Jeff Skinner isn’t afraid to chuck knuckles. Even, as we learned today, with a Hurricanes teammate.
According to the News & Observer, Skinner and Carolina forward Pat Dwyer dropped the gloves after a particularly intense one-on-one battle drill.
Teammates quickly separated the two (presumably while trying not to laugh), after which Skinner and Dwyer apologized to each other.
“It’s not because I don’t like him,” Skinner said. “Everything’s all right. It’s just a tough drill there at the end. It’s not something you want to do every practice but it happens every once in a while. You don’t look for it but sometimes it happens.
“I maybe could have reacted a little differently but he’s a competitive guy.”
Both Skinner and Dwyer added the obligatory “this just shows we care” comments, and that was that.