For the first time this season, the Carolina Hurricanes have a four game winning streak, with the help of another Jeff Skinner game winning goal, as the Canes defeated the Nashville Predators, 2-1 in front of 13,994 Sunday night at the PNC Arena.
Anton Khudobin earned the win once again as he made 31 saves on 32 shots. "Dobby" has yet to lose a game and improved his record to 5-0-0 for the season. He is 3-0-0 since returning from injury.
The Canes went into this game without Captain Eric Staal and have been without franchise goalie, Cam Ward, (injured reserve), but they continue to work hard and play winning hockey.
The newly formed first line of Alexander Semin, Jeff Skinner, and Tuomo Ruutu accounted for all the Carolina scoring.
Just 4:28 into the first period, Semin made it 1-0 Carolina, when he banked a puck in the net off the back of Nashville goalie Carter Hutton. Ruutu and Skinner picked up assists on the play.
The score stayed 1-0 until 6:46 of the third period when the Preds took advantage of a powerplay opportunity.
Khudobon made the initial stop on a Shea Weber blast, but came out of the net to do it. The rebound came around to Patric Hornqvist, who seemed to kick the puck in the net. After a review, the goal stood and the game was tied.
Both teams were playing a tight checking hockey game and it continued through the third period. But with 3:31 left, Semin took a hit to make a play and feather the puck to Ruutu, who found Skinner alone just beyond the slot area.
Perhaps the hottest goal scorer in the league right now, made no mistake and got the puck past Hutton for the game-winner.
The Canes and Khudobin played tough the rest of the way to hold the lead and push Carolina's record to 18-16-9, good for fourth in the division. They are just one point out of a tie for second place now.
- Skinner now has 20 goals for the season and has 16 in the last 16 games.
- The Canes were outshot 32-25. They were led by Skinner, Semin, and Brett Sutter with three each.
- Brett Bellemore had a team high four blocked shots and Sutter had a team high three hits.
- Justin Faulk led both teams with 27:35 of ice time.
- The most recent callups of Zach Boychuk, Aaron Palushaj, and Brett Sutter each played well and averaged about 10 minutes of playing time each.
- Post game interviews can be found at Canes PR.com.