Carolina caps 10-win month by beating Blues 3-1

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 31, 2014 at 9:14 pm •  Published: January 31, 2014
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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The previous time the Carolina Hurricanes had a month like this, a rare playoff appearance soon followed.

The Hurricanes capped their first 10-win month since 2009 by beating the St. Louis Blues 3-1 on Friday night.

Jeff Skinner scored the go-ahead goal in the second period, Alexander Semin added an empty-netter with 1:04 left and Nathan Gerbe scored on an early power play.

Opening a four-game homestand that precedes the Olympic break, Carolina earned its fifth win in six games while staying in the mix in the crowded Metropolitan Division.

"We want to have a good feeling going into the break and we want to sort of build off this win," Skinner said.

David Backes scored on the power play for St. Louis.

The Blues, who average 3.36 goals per game, missed a chance to pull even with Chicago atop the Central Division by losing just their fourth game against an Eastern Conference team.

"Hard to find a lot of good players in our game today," St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said. "They deserve a lot of credit. They skated. They checked. They played hard. And we looked like we had the body language like we wanted an easier game. Didn't get it."

Anton Khudobin stopped 26 shots for the Hurricanes.

Jaroslav Halak made 28 saves in his fourth straight start, but had his four-game winning streak snapped.

Khudobin stopped all 10 shots he faced in the third period, including a nifty leg save on Alex Pietrangelo with about 1½ minutes left.

And, he got some help from the goal post after two Blues — Jaden Schwartz and Jay Bouwmeester — each rang it in the final 2 minutes.

"You need the post to be a goalie's best friend," Carolina coach Kirk Muller said.

Semin then tacked on his highlight-reel empty-net goal that capped the Hurricanes' best month in a while.

They went 10-4 in January, and their previous 10-win month in March 2009 led into their only playoff appearance since 2006, when they won their only Stanley Cup.

Skinner put Carolina up 2-1 off a draw 1:51 into the second. After Jordan Staal won a faceoff, the puck found Skinner's stick and he beat Halak with a wrist shot from the slot that clipped the goalie's glove for his seventh goal of the month.



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