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Ruutu, Cole leave Game 1 for 'Canes

Monday, 05.18.2009 / 8:45 PM / Conference Finals: Pittsburgh vs. Carolina

By NHL.com Staff

Carolina Hurricanes forwards Tuomo Ruutu and Erik Cole left Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins after suffering what coach Paul Maurice said were lower-body injuries.

Ruutu, 26, suffered what was being reported as a lower-body injury. He was positioned in front of Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury during the first period when he got tangled up with defenseman Mark Eaton. He skated gingerly to the bench and did not come back out for the second period.

Ruutu, a five-year NHL veteran, set career highs this season with 26 goals, 28 assists and 54 points in 79 games. In 14 playoff games over the first two rounds, he recorded a goal and three assists.

Ruutu started Game 1 centering a line with Jussi Jokinen and Sergei Samsonov. After he left, Maurice used Rod Brind'Amour and Matt Cullen on that line.

Cole, who set up the Hurricanes' first goal by Chad LaRose, was also hurt with 12:08 left in the third when his leg collided with Matt Cooke in front of the Pittsburgh net. Cole was able to make it back to the Carolina bench, but also did not return.

"I'll know more tomorrow, I don't know much right now," Maurice said after the game. "We'll see how they wake up and see how they feel."
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