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Jeff Skinner Wins Wild One In Shootout: Hurricanes 6, Flames 5

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The Carolina Hurricanes won their third game in a row and now have earned points in eight consecutive games as they defeated the Calgary Flames, 6-5 in a shootout on Tuesday night at the RBC.

At one point in the second period the Canes had a 5-2 lead, but Calgary kept fighting back, scored one goal before the end of the second, and dominated much of the third period to tie things up.  After a scoreless overtime, in which Jussi Jokinen was robbed at point blank by backup goalie Henrik Karlsson, Jeff Skinner won the game in a shootout as he was the only shooter to score.

Jussi Jokinen scored two goals and had an assist in his first game back after a six game absence due to injury.  He was named the game's first star.  Tuomo Ruutu, Erik Cole, and Eric Staal had the other goals.  

Cam Ward has had better nights as he made 27 saves on 32 shots, but stood tall in the shootout and did not allow anything past him when it counted most.   

Calgary starting goalie Miikka Kiprusoff was taken out of the game at 5:37 into the second after allowing four goals on just eight shots.  Karlsson played well in his place as he made 21 saves on 22 shots.

The Flames tried to get rough with Skinner, hitting him a bit after the whistle as they attempted to get in the rookie's head, but the 18 year old did not back away.

"I knew who it was, but at the same time you really don't want to to back down to anyone," he said after the game.  When asked if he was ready to drop the gloves with Cory Sarich, his antagonist, he laughed.  "No, not really.  I don't think I'd fare too well against him." 

The youngest player in the NHL is not quite ready for that, but he did smash Curtis Glencross hard into the boards later in the game and got a boarding call for his trouble

Chad LaRose came to the rookie's defense during the initial skirmish and Skinner said that he thanked him afterward.

Paul Maurice liked  the rookie's response to the physical challenge.  "He might just come back and drill ya, then win the game in the shootout," chuckled the coach. 

It was not a bad response at all.

Quick Stats and Thoughts:

  • Jokinen had an excellent game and looked like he never missed a beat.  Ruutu joked that of course he had been playing the game for 20 years, he's pretty good.  Number 36 made a perfect pass for Cole's goal, a no look, backhander right to the tape of Cole's stick in the crease.  Jokinen is also even or plus in 15 consecutive games played and finished +3 tonight.
  • The Hurricanes are now 13-0 when they have a lead after two periods.  They are 7-14-3 when surrendering the game's first goal. 
  • The powerplay was atrocious and went 0-6.  This included 50 seconds of a 5-on-3 chance in the first period and a 4-on-3 chance in OT.  Calgary created more chances shorthanded than the Canes did with the advantage.
  • Staal now has points in six consecutive games.  Ruutu, Dwyer, Cole, and Skinner have points in three straight.  Cole has goals in three straight.
  • Patrick Dwyer had a team high six hits while LaRose and Cole had five each.  The team was given credit for 39.
  • Jokinen also led the team with five shots on goal.  Staal, Ruutu, and Ian White each had four.
  • Ruutu led the team by winning 59% of his faceoffs.  The team finished at 49%.
  • Zac Dalpe was moved to the fourth line and didn't see much action, (4:28).  Sergei Samsonov took Zach Boychuk's spot on the first line in the third period.  Boychuk was staggered in the second period when he was knocked down and hit in the head.  He was still on the bench but might have been dazed.    
  • Ian White had a team high five blocked shots.