|ESPN.com: NHL Playoffs 2006||[Print without images]|
|Hurricanes forward Erik Cole will travel back to Raleigh to undergo another test on his injured neck. If he passes the test, Cole could be cleared to play sometime in the series. Several Carolina forwards weren't thrilled with the condition of the ice at the HSBC Arena. They thought the ice was faster at their home rink in Raleigh. Carolina rookie goalie Cam Ward was pulled at the 12:55 mark of the second period after allowing four goals. Ward has been pulled from each of his last two road starts.|
The club lost Dmitri Kalinin to an ankle injury in the second round. He is listed as week-to-week. That gives you the idea you won't be seeing him any time soon. Then, Numminen went down in Game 1 at Carolina. Ruff replaced him with another minor leaguer, Doug Janik. Looking for a different look, Ruff exchanged one J for another, replacing Janik with Jillson. And just when you thought things couldn't get any worse, defenseman Henrik Tallinder left Wednesday's game with about six minutes remaining in the third period with what was described as an "upper-body injury." In other words, he has a boo-boo, and that boo-boo might keep him from playing in Friday's Game 4. If that's the case, both J's might be in the lineup. Of course, if you've followed the Sabres this season, you know they'll persevere.
"It's just the way it's been for us all year," said Sabres co-captain Daniel Briere. "We have had key injuries. We had a little slump in November and everybody thought we were fading. We came back strong and went on a tear. Then, we had another little slump in March and people thought we were finally done. But, again, we came back strong. "We just have that confidence that we know we can bounce back from bad outings, bad games, from tough breaks," Briere continued. "It's not something you can teach. We believe in ourselves and in each other. We have the same guys that have been around since Day 1 of training camp. There haven't been any new faces. We just keep working together." They certainly do. On Wednesday, in a critical moment, a forgotten man stepped out of the shadows to play a small part. If you're going to win a championship, those types of things have to happen. The way things have gone in Buffalo, you just wonder who it's going to be next.
EJ Hradek covers hockey for ESPN The Magazine. E-mail him at email@example.com. Also, click here to send EJ a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.