The Hurricanes lost Erik Cole midway through the third period after Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke caught him knee-on-knee in front of the Pittsburgh net. Cole played only one shift after that, and an angry Paul Maurice wasn't happy about the hit afterward.
Asked if he thought it was a knee-on-knee hit, with the implication that it was an illegal one, a curt Maurice said, "Yes, I did. I felt that was, yeah."
Cole officially has a "lower body" injury, but he clearly hurt his left knee in the collision. Cooke said the contact was accidental.
"He was cutting across the middle," Cooke said. "I turned sideways to hit him, and he turned the other way. I almost fell over, too."
Just as Cole has a history in this building — Brooks Orpik broke his neck with a hit from behind in 2006 — Cooke has a history with the Hurricanes. His blind-side hit to the head in January knocked Scott Walker out for a total of two months with a concussion, earning Cooke a two-game suspension.
Ironically, Walker and Orpik tangled after Orpik elbowed Walker in the third period, earning the penalty which led to Joe Corvo's power-play goal that brought the Hurricanes within one late.
Tuomo Ruutu, who also has a "lower body" injury, was hurt late in the first period and did not return for the second.
"I'll know more tomorrow," Maurice said. "I don't know much right now. We'll see how they wake up and how they feel."