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Skinner helps 'Canes take down Lightning

Mar 11, 2012 - 6:14 AM
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Jeff Skinner netted two goals, including the game-winner in the third period, as the Carolina Hurricanes skated past the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-2, on Saturday.

Chad LaRose added a goal and an assist and Jaroslav Spacek also scored for the Hurricanes, who had lost three of their last four coming in. Jussi Jokinen contributed a pair of assists and Cam Ward made 36 saves in the victory.

Ryan Malone and Nate Thompson scored for the Lightning, who have lost three straight. Dustin Tokarski was tagged for three goals on 25 shots in just his second NHL start.

Skinner's game-winner came at 6:36 of the third frame when Skinner lost the puck momentarily but quickly recovered and ripped a wrist shot off the crossbar and in to give Carolina a 3-2 edge.

The Lightning pulled Tokarski with around 1:20 to play, but they were unable to find the tying goal in the final stages of the game. LaRose added an empty-netter with 22 seconds left to seal the win.

"It was a big game for us," Skinner said. " He (Ward) is seeing the puck well and playing really well for us. My line played really well too."

Tampa Bay struck just 1:20 into the contest after Tom Pyatt brought the puck around behind the Carolina net and sent a pass across the goal mouth for Malone, who ripped it past Ward.

The Hurricanes answered quickly though, finding the tying goal just over two minutes later. Skating on the power play, Jokinen sent a pass from the right wing wall to Spacek at the point. Spacek fired a slap shot through bodies in front that skipped past a screened Tokarski.

Carolina took a 2-1 lead at 12:29 of the opening period with some excellent passing.

Skinner worked his way though center ice and gained the blue line with speed. Tokarski poked the puck out of the crease as Skinner got close, but it went right to LaRose on the left-wing boards. LaRose then sent a quick turn- around pass right to the tape of Jokinen, who found Skinner cutting to the net, and the former Calder Trophy winner tapped it home with ease.

The Lightning tied it at two at 17:14 of the first frame after JT Wyman fought off his checkers behind the net and sent a pass to Thompson, who banged it home from the slot.

"I thought I played well," Tarkoski said. "I think the guys did a good job of letting me see the puck. I thought we outplayed them but they buried their chances and Cam was great."

Game Notes

Saturday marked the sixth and final meeting between the Lightning and Hurricanes this season...Each team won three times...Lightning forward Teddy Purcell had his career-best 11-game point streak snapped...Ward improved to 19-13-3 in 36 career appearances against Tampa Bay...Carolina scored on its only power-play chance, while the Lightning went 0-for-3 with the man advantage...The Lightning will continue a season-high seven-game homestand on Tuesday against the Boston Bruins, while the Hurricanes visit the Florida Panthers on Sunday.