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Hurricanes 6, Canadiens 2

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Hurricane Jeff Skinner, center, celebrates his second goal with teammates Jussi Jokinen, left, Bryan Allen and Tuomo Ruutu (15) during the first period against the Montreal Canadiens. CHRIS SEWARD - cseward@newsobserver.com

RALEIGH  — Jeff Skinner remains on a roll. Jamie McBain has started one.

Skinner scored a pair of goals in the first period, his 28th and 29th of the season, and McBain added another two scores Wednesday as the Carolina Hurricanes whipped the Montreal Canadiens 6-2. Joni Pitkanen and Cory Stillman also scored for the Canes (37-30-10), who beat the Habs for the first time this season.

The Canes, who beat the Washington Capitals 3-2 in a shootout Tuesday, have 84 points but remained three points out of playoff position in the NHL East as the Buffalo Sabres (87 points) beat the New York Rangers (87 points).

The Canadiens (41-30-7) got power-play goals from Mike Cammalleri and P.K. Subban. The Habs have 89 points and are sixth in the East but have lost four of their last five games.

"It was an emotional game last night in Washington," Ward said. "To be able to respond and play with the up-tempo we did tonight really speaks volumes about the character in the room. We clearly know what's at stake here. Things are looking really good."

Ward had 38 saves for the second consecutive night, stopping all 17 Montreal shots in the first period.

"We got a good start, from all players," Canes coach Paul Maurice said. "Our goaltender, in the first period again, then some great plays."

McBain scored his first goal 47 seconds after Cammalleri scored a power-play goal for the Habs to trim Carolina's lead to 2-1. McBain unloaded from the right point for his sixth of the season.

Pitkanen then picked up his fourth on a blast from between the circles  at 9:03 of the second. Skinner earned an assist for his third point of the night and was plus-4 for the first time in his rookie season.

Skinner scored with 8:59 left in the first after a dump-in by Jiri Tlusty, then forechecking by Jussi Jokinen and Tuomo Ruutu, who separated Brent Sopel from the puck. Skinner grabbed it near the left circle and blasted a shot past Carey Price.

Skinner helped keep the puck in the zone, then scored off a Ruutu pass for the second goal. Skinner faked a forehand, then went backhand against Price, who was pulled after the second period for Alex Auld.

"That Ruutu line was so good last night," Maurice said. "You wonder how much Ruutu can give on a back-to-back. Then he throws that hit (on Sopel). That's inspirational to the rest of the hockey club."

Skinner scored in the third period and had a shootout goal in the Canes' win over the Caps. He has five goals in his last six games.

"He plays his best hockey in the big games," Maurice said.

Subban scored a power-play goal in the third but McBain answered again and Cory Stillman later added a power-play score. The Canes now have scored power-play goals in four straight games for the first time this season.

"Our ability to answer back on both (Montreal) goals quickly was very, very important," Maurice said. "They had some great chances and we did, too. Our goaltender was the difference in the early part until it broke open."

Ruutu, who had two assists, forced a 12-minute delay in the third period. He slammed defenseman Hall Gill into a stanchion near the Canes' bench, shattering the glass.

"He really brings a unique element to our team," Maurice said.

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I don't have the time to

I don't have the time to research how long it's been since the Canes D scored three times in a game, but it was good to see. I'm particularly pleased with McBain's play after returning from injury. He's a key player for the Canes in coming years.

Hey biggssalvatore...be

Hey biggssalvatore...be careful who you call detractors...if you knew the game of hockey better than you do you might not be fooled into another MO too little too late run once again.  When the season is done you too will be left wondering what happened.  All fans deserve the right to state their thoughts...get off the high horse by telling anybody in here what they can and cant say about a team they follow.  I find it amazing how people on a message board feel the need to defend multi-million dollar athletes and overpaid coaches...a fan is not just a guy that is happy with mediocre results every year...some of us demand more than that, and for the amount of coin I spend on season tickets, I can voice my displeasure any time I want!

Retort

Wow.  I wasn't expecting a personal attack, but I will retort.

First, I was making a general observation.  Take a look at the recaps on this blog from the last few games.  We beat Tampa 4-2, there are 2 comments.  We lose to Tampa, there are 19 comments.  We beat Washington, there are 0 comments.  My statement was simply stating that some fans choose only to bitch after a loss than praise the efforts after a win.

I have never, and will never state that fans don't have the right to express their thoughts.  As fans that is what we do, good or bad.  With that being said, where in my original post did I "defend" anybody?  I simply stated that it was good game by the Canes to keep themselves in the playoff race.  If you knew me at all you would know that I am definitely not a "ra-ra, these guys are trying their best...." kind of person. 

I have been a season ticket holder for the past 10 years and I have seen my fair share of hockey.  Believe me, I shell out a lot of money as well for my tickets as well.  I also value the time committment that it takes to go 30+ games per year.  At what point did I state that I was happy with mediocrity?  For the investment that I make I want to see a winner, or at the very least a competitive team. 

I am also a realist.  I understood at the beginning of the season that this team was not going to be competing for the President's trophy.  I fully expected them to be competing for a playoff spot at the end of the season.  Here we are, 5 games left and the Canes are building momentum.  In my opinion, that is something to be excited about.

Wow...

Jeez moki...all the guy said was "It is funny to see that all of the detractors go missing after a game like last night's" and you know what, he was correct. He didn't try to tell anybody what they can or cannot say nor did he single anyone out for an attack...like you did him. Not cool.

Respect is a Good Thing

Mr. Mokimano, your repeated apparent  intemperate, self-serving  and seemingly contemptuous post comments might reveal a lot about you.

You constantly call for the firing of our coach, Mr. Maurice, whom you declare overpaid (according to whose standard)...of course a "brilliant tactician" such as seems to think you are  could do a better job (incidentally what team did you coach to obtain all this coaching expertise)... you declare that all fans have a right to state their thoughts yet in a previous post less than a week ago didn't you label those who disagreed with your position as  "hypocrits"; you set yourself up as something of a hockey expert and then proceed to show us all just  how smart you are by telling us  something we already know...what a fan is.

It would appear that you really feel superior to others and as for your "demands," shouldn't people  "demand" some simple civility from themselves?  We all want a winning team, but do you even for a moment believe that is not  the desire of everyone of our team? Do you think they are out there trying to lose? Do you really believe that Mr. Rowe, Barrasso, Francis, Maurice are out to lose games?

We have a fine cadre of coaches who deserve respect if for no other reason than they are human beings.

You say "I can voice my displeasure anytime I want." One would suppose that applies to us "hypocrits"  as well. But then  I expect we all know people whom we would hope that their tolerance for others was as high as their vociferous voice level.

We all pay a lot for hockey tickets as well and hope for a winning team, but we consider ourselves fortunate to have this team in Raleigh. I really hope you enjoy the remainder of the season, but if one is so put off as you seem to be there is a simple solution...not to buy tickets to any more games.

This is the answer?

You don't like someone dispararing your views yet that is exactly what you have done to biggsalvatore. Comments by starting everything with "if you knew the game of hockey better than you do" are by nature demeaning and disparaging.

Obviously you also have an issue with these "overpaid" athletes. The same ones  in a sport where the average career spans 5 years and they often leave with a variety of ailments they take with them for a lifetime. Additionally only now are the disabling and lingering affects of multiple concussions coming to light. I have several friends from this fraternity of overpaid athletes who are currently in a study commissioned by a joint task force of professional sports looking into the correlation between contact sports head injuries and early onset dementia and alzheimers.

I was lucky and got in several years but left with little vision in one eye, about 140 stitches and knees and shoulders that remind every day about the wear and tear.  I had two serious concussion and lately I wonder about some side affects. Yet I consider myself privileged to have  played a game I loved. And I never for a day begrudge the dollars for the guys that make it really big. They are exceptional and can do something that only a very small fraction of athletes can while providing entertainment and enjoyment for all those that watch the sport. 

And every one of those that watches is entitled to say whatever they want.  But postive, supportive comments should be just as much respected and not disparaged by someone who starts by demeaning their comments by saying that they obviously don't know anything about hockey just because they are taking a positive cheerleading approach in their comments.

Excellent

Canes are playing excellent hockey lately. Hopefully they continue to play in this gear or higher.  Obviously the Buffalo game is crucial and above all, 'Canes cannot take the Islanders nor Atlanta lightly.  Cam Ward played very, very well last night. Great job by the team.
 

Good Game

Great game last night.  Wish Jeff could have gotten the hat trick!  On several occasions it looked like the team was trying to give it to him.  Glad to see a little of the "old" Gleason out there.  Seems that something really should be done about the quality of the refs we have in hockey.  Random thoughts, sorry.

Great Win

Great win last night on several levels.  First, it keeps the Canes in the playoff hunt.  Even though Buffalo won as well, we are only 3 points back of them and the Rangers now, and we are 5 back of Montreal with a game in hand.  Any one of these 3 teams can faulter and we are in the hunt.  Second, the ability to answer each time Montreal scored killed any momentum they had in the game.  Both teams played the night before but the Canes looked like they had the extra jump the entire game.  Third, the high energy and offensive output should do nothing but instill confidence in our team heading into the last 5 games of the season.  It is going to be a great finish.

I don't post often, but I read every post on this blog.  It is funny to see that all of the detractors go missing after a game like last night's. 

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About the blogger

A Raleigh native, Chip has worked at the N&O since 1979 and is the Canes beat writer. He can be reached at chip.alexander@newsobserver.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @ice_chip.
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