Skinner carries Canes to win

Second-year forward has two goals, including game-winner; Ward stops 36 shots

Associated PressMarch 11, 2012 

— Jeff Skinner scored two goals, Cam Ward made 36 saves in his 199th NHL win, and the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 on Saturday night.

Skinner gave Carolina a 3-2 lead when he skated around the net and scored from a tough angle at 6 minutes, 37 seconds of the third period. Chad LaRose added an empty-net goal.

Ward stopped all 18 shots he faced in the second period. He made two strong saves on NHL goals leader Steven Stamkos, including a spinning shot by the center from the low left circle.

Jaroslav Spacek also scored and Jussi Jokinen had two assists for the Hurricanes.

The Lightning, which started a seven-game homestand, got goals from Ryan Malone and Nate Thompson.

Tampa Bay dropped five points behind eighth-place Washington in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Carolina trails the Capitals by seven points.

The Hurricanes took a 2-1 lead 12:29 in when Skinner beat rookie goalie Dustin Tokarski with a nifty redirection from just outside the crease off a pass from Jokinen. Skinner has eight goals and 11 points in 10 games against Tampa Bay.

Thompson stopped a 15-game point drought with a goal that pulled Tampa Bay even at 2 with 2:46 left in the first.

Malone put the Lightning up 1-0 just 1:20 in with a rebound goal from the slot.

Tampa Bay came out strong after the opening faceoff, getting three shots on Ward in the first minute.

Carolina took advantage of an interference penalty on Lightning right wing Tim Wallace when Spacek tied it 1-1 with a power-play goal.

Tokarski, recalled from Norfolk of the American Hockey League on Wednesday after starting goalie Mathieu Garon was sidelined by a groin injury, started for the second consecutive game. He made an in-close save on a late second-period shot by LaRose.

NOTES: Hurricanes center Jiri Tlusty left with an undisclosed upper body injury. ... Tampa Bay right wing Teddy Purcell had his career-high, 11-game point streak (15 assists, 22 points) end. ... Carolina right wing Tuomo Ruutu was in the lineup after missing 10 games with an upper body injury. ... Malone has three goals and six points during a six-game point streak. ... Spacek has goals in consecutive games after scoring just one in the previous nine games.

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