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game recap

Hurricanes keep pace for second wild card in East

Carolina extends point streak to 10 games with win against Devils, trails by five points for playoff spot

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- The Carolina Hurricanes kept pace for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference with a 3-1 win against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Saturday.

The Hurricanes (33-27-13) trail the Boston Bruins by five points for the final playoff berth from the East with nine games remaining. Carolina extended its point streak to 10 games (7-0-3) and ended a three-game losing streak (0-2-1) against New Jersey. Sebastian Aho had two goals, Jeff Skinner scored and Eddie Lack made 26 saves.

"It kind of feels like the last 10 games have been must-win situations for us," Lack said. "We just keep battling here and we'll see where we end up, but obviously we're excited about the streak we're on. It's much more fun to play when we have a chance [to qualify for the playoffs]. This is when it's fun to play this time in the year."

 

WATCH: All Devils vs. Hurricanes highlights

 

Skinner scored to give the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead 9:34 into the third period.

"I had some speed, and didn't really check their other defenseman," Skinner said. "I got a good stick on it and fortunately was able to poke check the puck by [Devils defenseman Andy Greene] and go in on the break."

Aho extended the lead to 3-1 at 16:46.

"I think we have good confidence right now," Aho said. "A lot of players are playing really good and our two goalies are playing great right now."

Video: CAR@NJD: Aho slams home Lindholm's great feed

Travis Zajac scored and Cory Schneider made 25 saves for the Devils (27-35-12). New Jersey is 2-12-2 in the past 16 games and is last in the Eastern Conference.

"It's never fun when you don't make the playoffs, regardless of the year," Greene said. "It's one more year, one less chance to try and win, and it's no fun. We work, we train, all summer, all year long to fight for a playoff spot and get in, so when you don't it's disappointing. We have no one to blame but ourselves."

Zajac scored off a pass from Taylor Hall to tie it 1-1 17:03 into the second period. Hall broke down his left wing and passed to Zajac down the middle.

Aho scored his first goal of the game to give the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead 2:47 into the second.

"My goal for this season was to play in the NHL all season and everything after that has been fun," Aho said. "I didn't have any expectations for points or goals. I started getting comfortable after the first 20 games. That's when it got a little easier for me. I was more confident and comfortable."

 

Goal of the game

Skinner's 30th goal of the season came unassisted on a steal at the Hurricanes blue line, and he beat Schneider over the right pad on a breakaway.

"[Skinner] is scoring big goals," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. "To strip a guy at the line like that and make a nice play on a high-end goalie was special."

Video: CAR@NJD: Skinner puts Canes ahead with superb goal

 

Save of the game

Lack stopped rookie forward Blake Pietila on a breakaway 6:55 into the third period with the game tied 1-1.

"I wasn't sure if I was going to go out and play it or if I was going to stay; it was like a 50-50 puck but I trusted myself to stop the breakaway," Lack said. "I stayed in there and was fortunate to make the blocker save."

Video: CAR@NJD: Lack stonewalls Pietila to keep game tied

 

Highlight of the game

Aho's second goal, his 23rd of the season, came after he won a loose-puck battle with John Moore before taking a snap shot from low in the left circle that beat Schneider between the pads

Video: CAR@NJD: Aho battles to pot gritty second goal

 

Unsung performance of the game

Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin played a game-high 22:10, including 2:52 shorthanded to help kill two New Jersey power plays.

 

They said it

"Aho is a world-class talent. Anytime you can play in the World Cup of Hockey before you play in the NHL, something's going on there. I was exited to get him this year. The biggest acclimation was to the lifestyle of North America. He's smart, elite, and has great hockey sense. He's very competitive and that's what people don't talk about. I know some of those kids that are in the top echelon and they are competitive. He's right there with them." -- Hurricanes coach Bill Peters

 

"I just think to continue to lose games like that is frustrating; it's tough. We're working. We just need to find a way to win. It's tough not to be in the playoffs, though." -- Devils goaltender Cory Schneider

 

Need to know

Carolina is 23-5-5 when Lindholm has a point. He extended his point streak to 10 games (four goals, seven assists). ... Skinner, who has scored at least 30 goals three times in seven seasons in Carolina, has a five-game goal streak and six-game point streak (seven goals, two assists). ... Aho has eight points (three goals, five assists) in a six-game point streak. ... Devils coach John Hynes said goalie Keith Kinkaid will start against the Dallas Stars on Sunday. ... Hall has 50 points (18 goals, 32 assists) in 64 games this season.

 

What's next

Hurricanes: Host the Detroit Red Wings on Monday (7 p.m. ET; FS-CR, FS-D+, NHL.TV)

Devils: Host the Dallas Stars on Sunday (5 p.m. ET; MSG+, FS-SW, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Aho pots a pair to lead Hurricanes past Devils, 2-1

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