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game recap

Jeff Skinner helps Hurricanes defeat Rangers

Has two goals plus assist on game-winner by Bryan Bickell

by Kurt Dusterberg / NHL.com Correspondent

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Jeff Skinner scored twice and assisted on Bryan Bickell's game-winning goal in the Carolina Hurricanes' 3-2 win against the New York Rangers at PNC Arena on Friday.

Bickell scored a power-play goal with 0.3 seconds remaining in the second period of Carolina's home opener. Skinner's hard shot from the top of the right circle went in off Bickell for his first goal with the Hurricanes.

"Just trying to take away the goalie's eyes," Bickell said. "It just skimmed my jersey, I think. It's nice to get that win at home when we need it."

Video: NYR@CAR: Skinner rockets a shot off Bickell and in

Mats Zuccarello scored twice for the Rangers (5-3-0), who had a three-game winning streak end.

Cam Ward made 28 saves, and Victor Rask had two assists for the Hurricanes (2-3-2).

The Rangers made it 1-0 on Zuccarello's power-play goal at 8:31 of the first period. Mika Zibanejad banked a shot off Ward's back then cleared the rebound to Zuccarello, who hit the net from the right circle.

Skinner tied the game 1-1 with his third goal of the season at 12:34. His shot missed wide, but after Noah Hanifin settled the puck, Skinner gathered it and circled the net to beat Henrik Lundqvist off the blocker. Skinner was returning to the lineup after missing one game with a middle-body injury. It was his first game serving as an alternate captain, a designation he will have for all home games.

"He's got the ability to make things happen in tight spaces," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. "He's a goal-scorer. There's not a lot of them anymore. He's one of those guys that can hang in the weeds a little bit and all of a sudden he gets the puck at the right time and the right spot and it's in the net."

Skinner gave the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead 33 seconds into the second period when he took a stretch pass from Brett Pesce to score on a backhand from the slot. Skinner has four goals and nine points in six games.

"It's tough to pinpoint why, otherwise you'd try to stay in that for the whole year," Skinner said. "You go through stretches where you're in a rhythm, but I think our line's been clicking well all year. For me, it's about getting in positions where I can get off quality shots."

Video: NYR@CAR: Zuccarello pots second on a breakaway chance

Zuccarello took a long pass from Ryan McDonagh to get behind the Carolina defense and beat Ward with a shot between the legs to tie it 2-2 at 12:17.

"It was a hard-fought game," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "There wasn't a lot of room in the third period for both teams. I liked the way we moved the puck. There were a lot of positives."

 

Goal of the game

Skinner's second goal combined speed, strength and shooting accuracy. He came off the wall in the neutral zone to take the pass, then lifted a backhand to the far post with Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein draped on him.

Video: NYR@CAR: Skinner shovels in impressive backhand

 

Save of the game

With two minutes remaining in the first period, Ward pushed right to left across the crease to deny Zuccarello's one-timer off a pass from Kevin Hayes.

 

Unsung moment of the game

With 90 seconds left, Skinner and his linemates pinned the puck along the end wall on the forecheck, killing time and preventing Lundqvist from getting off the ice for an extra attacker. Lundqvist left the net with 55 seconds remaining.

 

Highlight of the game

On the tiebreaking goal, it appeared Skinner completed a hat trick, and hundreds of giveaway hats were thrown onto the ice. The remaining 0.3 seconds were wound off the clock and the teams were sent to the locker room for the second intermission. The crowd learned of the correct scoring, giving Bickell the goal, at the start of the third period.

"He owes everyone their hats back," Skinner said jokingly of Bickell.

 

They said it

"Personally I needed to step up. It hasn't been easy early on. I had a great training camp, but I haven't been able to relay it to the games. Today I got rewarded for competing and making some big saves." -- Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward, who got his first win after an 0-2-1 start

 

"I think we had three guys in the lane and somehow he goes through everyone. I was shocked when I saw it in the net. The puck had eyes. Obviously it's a back-breaker to give up a goal that late. The way we were playing, it felt like we were going to get this [game]. That's a tough one, to give up one that way." -- Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist on Bryan Bickell's goal

 

"[Carolina] played hard. I would give them full marks. They move the puck and play a tight gap. They have speed and a real good skill set. Skinner was a sharpshooter." -- Rangers coach Alain Vigneault

 

Need to know

Rask has a season-opening seven-game point streak (4-5-9). … McDonagh extended his assist streak to six games (seven total). … The Rangers defeated the Hurricanes in 19 of their previous 21 games. … Bickell was traded to the Hurricanes with Teuvo Teravainen by the Chicago Blackhawks on June 15.

 

What's next

Rangers: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, TVA Sports, SUN, MSG, NHL.TV)

Hurricanes: Host the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday (5 p.m. ET; TCN-PH, FS-CR, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Skinner powers Hurricanes past Rangers, 3-2

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