PITTSBURGH — Yes, Erik Cole played.
Cole has a sore knee after taking a knee-on-knee hit from the Penguins' Matt Cooke in Game 1, but the Canes forward skated Thursday morning at Mellon Arena, was able to go — Tuomo Ruutu, with a sprained ankle was not — and was in for 22 shifts and 14:35 of ice time in Game 2.
How did he get through it, physically?
"Fine," he said.
Was there ever any doubt in his mind that he would be able to play, Cole was asked.
"I'm sure there was at some point," he said.
No, Cole was not in a talking mood after the 7-4 loss to the Pens that gave Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals. Nor were many of his teammates.
Can the Canes turn the series around?
"There's definitely the belief we can go home and play better and win two games," Cole said.
The Canes matched goals with the Pens into the third period, forcing a 4-4 tie, but the Pen' firepower in the end was too much.
"They're a great team with a lot of great players and they played well tonight," he said.
And what will the Canes have to do to beat the Pens and get back in the series.