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Hurricanes forward Skinner leaves game after hit

by Adam Vingan

WASHINGTON -- Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner sustained an upper-body injury in a 5-2 preseason loss to the Washington Capitals on Sunday after absorbing a hit from Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen. He will be re-evaluated Monday and his status for the Hurricanes' regular-season opener Friday against the New York Islanders is uncertain.

The 22-year-old led the Hurricanes with 33 goals last season.

"We don't want to lose anybody," Carolina coach Bill Peters said. "You don’t want to lose anybody through the preseason this time of year and then you're down to the final game of the preseason and you definitely don't want to an injury to any of your guys, let alone a young player that you're counting on.

"It's wait and see. It's out of my hands, out of his hands. It happened and now it's in the hands of the trainers and medical people and they'll make a determination."

The collision occurred early in the first period when Niskanen's forearm caught Skinner in the side of the head. Upon returning to his feet, Skinner headed to the dressing room and was ruled out for the rest of the game.

"The puck popped out to him and he had his back to the net. I was closing on him and was getting ready to defend him, and he did like a spin-around shot and he spun his face right into my elbow," Niskanen said. "I could feel it. ... I didn't even have time to hit him, he just spun right into me. I hope he's OK."

Carolina is already without forward Jordan Staal, who is expected to miss 3-4 months after having surgery to repair a broken leg.

"We won't make assumptions until we know," Hurricanes captain Eric Staal said. "We'll see where he's at in the next couple days and go from there."

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