Carolina Hurricanes forward Sergei Samsonov lies on the ice as Atlanta Thrashers defenseman Dustin Byfuglien skates nearby during the third period in Atlanta. Samsonov slid head first into the wall and had to be carried off the ice and taken to a local hospital. JOHN AMIS - AP
ATLANTA -- For the Carolina Hurricanes, there was much to like about Saturday's preseason game in Atlanta.
The Hurricanes beat the Thrashers 1-0 at Philips Arena, evening their preseason record at 2-2. Jeff Skinner had the winning goal. Cam Ward was super in net, making 32 saves.
Even the bad turned out good. Forward Sergei Samsonov was injured early in the third period, going head-first into the boards after being tripped by the Thrashers' Dustin Byfuglien. Samsonov was carried off the ice on a stretcher, his neck in a brace, and taken to a hospital.
But Samsonov was treated and released. He joined the team for the flight back to Raleigh, boarding the plane with the brace still around his neck but a smile on his face.
"When he left the ice he had full sensation is all his extremities," coach Paul Maurice said after the game. "If anything we played our best hockey after it.
"I think what happens is you get frozen almost to a panic or fear when you see something like that. Then the trainer comes over and says everything is going to be fine and it puts you in a pretty good mood."
Skinner had staked the Canes to the lead just moments before Samsonov's injury when his first goal with the Hurricanes. Carolina's first-round draft pick took advantage of a strong forecheck by Erik Cole and found himself with the puck in the slot, whipping a shot past Chris Mason at 1:17 of the third.
"It's good to get that one," said Skinner, who began the game on the wing, which may be his position with the Canes.
Neither team could take advantage of their power plays -- the Canes were 0-for-8 and the Thrashers, playing their second preseason game, were 0-for-5. But Ward and Mason had plenty of work.
Ward's 32 saves including a stop on a point-blank shot by former teammate Andrew Ladd. The Thrashers had 15 shots in the second period. The Canes had four shots in the first but 15 in the second and 10 in the third.
"He was good," Maurice said of Ward, who made his second preseason start. "It was not an easy game for either goaltender."
Drayson Bowman, playing for a roster spot, banged a first-period power-play shot off the post. The forward, who has played in all four preseason games, has come close to scoring in the preseason but can't quite find the net.
And not all the big moments belonged to the Canes. Thrashers center Alex Burmistrov, the eighth overall pick of the 2010 NHL draft, is an impressive prospect and showed off some quick, fancy moves.
Skinner also absorbed a hit from Byfuglien, the 265-pounder who came from the Stanley Cup-winning Chicago Blackhaks and was moved to defenseman. Skinner never flinched with Byfuglien bearing down on him.
Another memorable moment for the Canes was having two Staals in uniform. Eric Staal , for the first time, was playing with one of his brothers as Jared Staal made his first appearance for Carolina.