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Skinners 3rd-period goals push Hurricanes past Sharks
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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Jeff Skinner scored the key goals and Eric Staal finally got a point again. They helped the Carolina Hurricanes keep pushing for a playoff spot.
Skinner scored twice in the third period and the Carolina Hurricanes beat the San Jose Sharks 5-2 on Friday night.
Chris Terry and Joakim Nordstrom also scored, and Jordan Staal added an empty-netter.
The Hurricanes began the day four points outside of a wild-card spot and bounced back from a 4-2 loss at Ottawa on Thursday night. They haven’t lost consecutive games in regulation in more than two months.
“We’re fighting and scratching to pick up points,” said a relieved Eric Staal, who went seven games without a point before assisting on Skinner’s first goal.
“This is a fun time of year to be involved and to be playing,” he added. “We’re in the mix. We’ve put ourselves in that (position) and we’ve got to fight, we’ve got to win and we’ve got to pick up points every night.”
Brent Burns and Tomas Hertl scored for San Jose, which has the league’s second-best road record. The Sharks had won three straight and were 4-0-1 in their last five games.
“We’ve been consistently good for a long time,” coach Peter DeBoer said. “You’re going to have those once in a while. It’s how we respond to it. I think we just have to throw it away and get ready for the next one.”
Cam Ward was back in the lineup after missing two games with a lower-body injury and made 22 saves for the Hurricanes, prompting coach Bill Peters to say “we’re going to ride a guy and it’ll be Cam.”
Martin Jones stopped 32 shots for the Sharks.
The biggest goals of this one belonged to Skinner.
He made it 3-1 just 39 seconds into the third period with a score that initially was waved off. Skinner pushed in the rebound of Eric Staal’s shot inside the right post but the officials disallowed it, saying there was incidental contact on Jones. Peters challenged and after a 2-minute review, that on-ice call was reversed.
That score became even more significant after Patrick Marleau cashed in on Ward’s misplay behind the net, feeding Hertl for an easy goal to pull within 4-2 with 9:22 left.
Skinner then restored Carolina’s two-goal lead with 4:28 left with a hard shot from the slot and Staal tacked on his empty-netter with 2:25 left.
That helped the Hurricanes improve to 19-9-6 in their last 35 games after a miserable start to the season. They haven’t lost back-to-back games in regulation since Dec. 3, and now face some big decisions before the trade deadline Feb. 29.
“It’s a big time of year,” Skinner said. “It seems like every game you come to the rink, those two points are big.”
Carolina went up 2-1 when Nordstrom beat Jones with a blast from behind the circles with 7:35 left in the second off a smooth pass from Jordan Staal.
That came after Carolina scored first at 7:03 when Noah Hanifin uncorked a shot from the corner point and Terry deflected it past Jones with his stick waist high. Burns tied it at 14:07 with a shot from the slot.
“They took the game over” in the second, DeBoer said. “We didn’t have an answer. We pretty much got what we deserved.”

NOTES: Jordan Staal has points in 11 of his last 14 games, including four straight, and has 16 points (5 goals, 11 assists) in that span. ... Hurricanes C Riley Nash, who assisted on Terry’s goal, has five points in four games. ... San Jose C Tommy Wingels (upper body) was scratched.