Predators @ Canes

calexander@newsobserver.comJanuary 5, 2014 

Alex Semin's first-period goal has given the Canes a 1-0 lead after the first 40 minutes as Anton Khudobin is again in net.

Playing on a line centered by Jeff Skinner, Semin found a creative way to score at 4:28 of the first. After Skinner's attempt hit the side of the net, the puck bounced off the end boards and back to Semin, whose tight-angle shot went off the back of Preds goalie Carter Hutton.

Skinner was at center with center Eric Staal sidelined with a lower-body injury. Canes coach Kirk Muller said before the game that Staal could be out five or six days.

Skinner took a puck to the face with two minutes left in the second period and was taken to the dressing room for treatment. He returned for the third.

There were no penalties called until 10.2 seconds were left in the second. The Preds' Mattias Ekholm flipped the puck over the glass for a delay-of-game penalty.

Khudobin, making his third straight start, stopped 11 shots in the first and 12 in the second. Khudobin had 38 saves Thursday in beating the Washington Capitals, then another 38 stops Saturday in the 3-2 win over the New York Islanders.

Late in the first, Khudobin made a sprawling save on a shot by the Preds' David Legwand. Moments later, after a faceoff win by the Preds, he smothered a shot by rookie defenseman Seth Jones.

With seven minutes left in the second, the Preds' Paul Gaustad had a scoring chance only Canes defenseman Ryan Murphy knocked a loose puck out of the crease. About two minutes later Eric Nystrom was just wide of the post on an attempt.

Staal missed his first game since Feb. 26, 2011, ending a streak of 191 consecutive games played.

Both the Canes and Preds played Saturday on the road and had to travel. The Preds lost in a shootout to the Florida Panthers.

Goalie Marek Mazanec started the past four games for the Preds. Hutton is making his first start since Dec. 27 at Dallas.

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