Hurricane Brandon Sutter (16) celebrates his winning goal during the overtime period. CHRIS SEWARD - email@example.com
RALEIGH -- Brandon Sutter had the winning goal, Cam Ward had a winning game in net and rookie Jeff Skinner showed off his scoring skill again Friday with a winner of a move for the Hurricanes.
It all added up to a 2-1 overtime victory over the Colorado Avalanche at the RBC Center, ending the Canes' three-game slide at home.
Sutter ended what may have been his best all-around game of the season with the game-winner. Taking a pass from Joni Pitkanen, he chipped the puck past defenseman Mike Hunwick on the right wing and then beat Avs goalie Craig Anderson with a quick, high wrister.
"I had a step on the defenseman, kind of drove wide, looked up, saw the far side (of the net) and tried to shoot it there," Sutter said.
Sutter found the far side of the net for his fifth goal of the season as the Canes improved to 11-11-3. Carolina plays its next five games on the road, beginning Saturday night against the Nashville Predators, and wanted to leave Raleigh on a winning note at home.
"To be successful, you have to win at home," said Ward, who had 34 saves. "Our fans created a great atmosphere. It's nice for us to be able to walk away with a win and everybody be happy."
For two periods, it was a scoreless game, but Skinner ended that early in the third. His score at 4:50 of the third gave the Canes a 1-0 lead -- and on a play that was equal parts skill and determination.
Skinner first got off a shot near the low slot. Anderson warded off the shot, but the Canes' Tuomo Ruutu kept the puck alive behind the net and Skinner simply would not be denied.
Skinner first attempted a backhand stuff at the post but Anderson was there. But Skinner kicked the puck, then popped up a backhander for his eighth goal of the season. Skinner leads NHL rookies in scoring with 20 points.
The Avs finally got a puck past Ward to tie it 1-1 with 7:09 left in regulation. Milan Hejduk scored off the rush on a pass from Kevin Shattenkirk, whose eight-game point streak set a franchise record for a rookie defenseman.
The Hurricanes had three days to stew on a tasteless 4-1 loss to the Dallas Stars on Monday. It was Carolina's third straight loss at home and dropped the Canes below .500.
The goaltenders easily were the stars in the first two periods. The Canes' Cam Ward made 24 saves, 16 in the first period, and the Avs' Craig Anderson made 22 stops.
The Canes made a big push in the Avs' zone late in the second, forcing Anderson to be at his best. He stopped a bullet by Jussi Jokinen, followed by a rebound try by Pat Dwyer, then made a diving pad save to deny Erik Cole a goal. Chad LaRose also got a piece of the post.
Earlier in the second, the Canes had to kill off three consecutive penalties -- a slash on Sutter, then high-sticking calls against Jay Harrison and Jamie MCBain.
The Avs had the first 11 shots on goal in the game, but the slower-starting Canes -- coming off the three-day break -- made an offensive push later in the first period.
Anderson made a key stop with 20.4 seconds left in the first, turning back a tip in front by the Canes' Sergei Samsonov. And Jokinen was just wide with a shot barely a minute into the game.
The Canes had the only power play of the first after a holding-the-stick penalty against the Avs' Paul Stastny. The Avs killed off the penalty and Stastny jumped out of the box to bring the puck into the zone, but McBain hustled back to get a stick on the puck and keep Stastny from getting off a shot.
The Avs, beginning a five-game road trip through the Southeast Division, finished the first with an 16-11 edge.
Colorado came into the game averaged 3.46 goals per game, second in the NHL. Second-year star Matt Duchene had a four-game streak of scoring goals.