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game recap

Hurricanes hold off late rally by Flames for win

Skinner has two points, Darling makes 25 saves for Carolina, which matches best start in franchise history

by Aaron Vickers / NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY -- Scott Darling made 25 saves, and Jeff Skinner had a goal and an assist to help the Carolina Hurricanes to a 2-1 win against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday.

"I'm still amazed at how hard our team skates," said Darling, who signed a four-year contract May 5 after being acquired in a trade from the Chicago Blackhawks on April 28. "Nothing less is acceptable and the guys know that. If you don't play like that you're not going to play. Every guy here plays like that.

"It's a lot of fun to watch and a lot of fun to be a part of."

 

[WATCH: All Hurricanes vs. Flames highlights]

 

Justin Williams scored for the Hurricanes (3-1-1), who tied their best five-game start since the franchise relocated in 1997; Carolina also started 3-1-1 in 2007-08 and 2008-09. The best five-game start in franchise history came when they earned nine of a possible 10 points in 1995-96 as the Hartford Whalers (four wins, one tie).

"We're trying to get better every game and we're a team that's trying to make that next step from being a non-playoff team to playoff team to contender," Williams said. "Throughout the season you never know what's going to happen."

Sean Monahan scored for the Flames (4-3-0), and Mike Smith made 31 saves.

"We created no momentum for ourselves," Monahan said. "It didn't look like we had any energy and I think that hurt us."

Video: CAR@CGY: Monahan beats Darling with one-timer

Skinner put Carolina up 1-0 at 4:48 of the second period. The goal, Skinner's third of the season, came 1:10 after Hurricanes rookie defenseman Haydn Fleury blocked Michael Frolik's shot toward an open net from just above the crease.

Williams scored 1:09 into the third to make it 2-0 on the fifth of six power-play opportunities for Carolina.

"I thought the power-play goal at the start of the third was big for us," Williams said. "It gave us a little cushion. I played [for the Los Angeles Kings] quite a bit and I know the Flames are never really out of it. They showed us that and we were able to hold the fort."

Monahan shot by Darling's glove with 3:28 remaining to cut the Hurricanes lead to 2-1. Linemates Johnny Gaudreau and Jaromir Jagr each had an assist on the goal.

"[Jagr] is a great player and I think we're moving the puck well," Monahan said. "Once we got it going, we got a couple chances there, so I think that's a positive and we've got to build together."

Video: CAR@CGY: Slavin, Darling combine to rob Jagr's try

 

Goal of the game

Williams took a cross-ice pass from Skinner and shot over Smith's glove for his first of the season. "I was hoping it would squirt to me somehow and Jeff made a great pass to me and I had a lot of net to shoot at," Williams said.

Video: CAR@CGY: Williams beats sprawling Smith for PPG

 

Saves of the game

Darling made a pad save on Jagr's backhand from the slot 7:34 into the third period and, 11 seconds later, made a glove save on the 45-year-old right wing on a second-chance opportunity. "It's pretty cool it was him," Darling said. "I didn't know it at the time. He's Jaromir Jagr. It's cool to say you made a save on him. That's cool for a guy like me. I've played 80 games and he's played 2,000 or something like that."

Video: CAR@CGY: Darling robs Jagr with incredible glove save

 

Highlight of the game

Skinner got the puck off the boards inside the Flames blue line and stepped to the top of the left face-off circle before scoring with a slap shot over Smith's glove.

Video: CAR@CGY: Skinner buries huge slap shot from circle

 

They said it

"He played well, real well. He's big and calm back there. He's made some big saves at some big times. That's what you need out of your goalie, especially in these tight games. It's not always how many saves, it's sort of if they can come up with the big save at the right time and he was able to do that for us tonight." -- Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner on Scott Darling

 

"You can't put the game in the referee's hands. We took however many penalties again tonight. Mine personally cost us the game. You take full responsibility for it. It's unfortunate that mine cost us the game. Whatever I have to deal with, whatever I have to do, we'll do it with our head up. Ultimately we've got to change it around." -- Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk, who took a roughing minor that led to Justin Williams' game-winning, power-play goal

 

Need to know

The Flames have been shorthanded 35 times this season. Only the New Jersey Devils have been shorthanded more times (37). Gaudreau has 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in his past six games. ... Jagr has an assist in back-to-back games. … Williams has four points (one goal, three assists) during a three-game point-streak. ... Hurricanes defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk returned after missing three games because of a concussion.

 

What's next

Hurricanes: At the Dallas Stars on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; FS-SW+, FS-CR, NHL.TV)

Flames: Host the Minnesota Wild on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; CBC, FS-N, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Darling, Skinner pace Hurricanes to 2-1 victory

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