by Kate Shefte
Finally, some news regarding Carolina’s two hard-hitting wingers. Both players were injured during Game 1, with Ruutu hitting the ice hard after his legs were tangled up just over two minutes into the first period and Cole suffering a knee-on-knee collision in front of his own net in the third. Both were pegged with "lower body injuries" and didn't return.
Paul Maurice told the press that Cole and Ruutu would be game time decisions for Game 2 in Pittsburgh, but GM Jim Rutherford was a bit more forthcoming.
"It's not likely (Ruutu and Cole) will play (on Thursday)," Rutherford told NHL.com Wednesday. "Definitely not Ruutu; Cole's probably a little better than Ruutu, but whatever the case may be, we do have some time left before Game 2, so we'll have to see."
Cole has been known to tough it out, ill-advised as it may be, so we may yet see him on the ice tomorrow night. Neither player has contributed offensively with regularity this postseason – Ruutu has four points and Cole has three with one goal between them. However, Carolina just potentially lost both of its top hitters.
The lines will be scrambled tomorrow night, for certain – here's NHL.com's breakdown. There may be a few new faces in the line-up with Michael Ryan, Dwight Helminen or (gasp!) Brandon Sutter potentially making their playoff debuts.