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Hurricanes edge closer to playoffs

Eric Staal, left, defends as the Canadiens’ Mathieu Darche tries to shoot in the Hurricanes’ 6-2 victory.

Associated Press

Eric Staal, left, defends as the Canadiens’ Mathieu Darche tries to shoot in the Hurricanes’ 6-2 victory.

RALEIGH, N.C. — Rookie of the year candidate Jeff Skinner had two goals and an assist, and the Hurricanes beat the Canadiens 6-2 Wednesday to continue their push for a playoff spot.

Fellow rookie Jamie McBain also scored twice for the ninth-place Hurricanes, three points behind the Sabres and Rangers in the race for one of the eight Eastern Conference playoff spots. Carolina has won six of its past eight.

Carolina never trailed and was in control all game, scoring twice in each period en route to its highest-scoring game since a 6-4 win over Toronto on Jan. 24.

Play was stopped for 12 minutes early in the third when a hit by Carolina's Tuomo Ruutu on Montreal's Hal Gill shattered the glass.

Game highlights: Jhonas Enroth capably filled in for injured Ryan Miller by stopping 23 shots for his first career shutout, leading the host Sabres to a 1-0 victory over the Rangers in a seventh-place showdown in the East. Miller is listed day-to-day with an upper-body injury. He was hurt Tuesday when he was struck high on the chest by a hard shot from the Maple Leafs' Dion Phaneuf. … The host Red Wings gave up eight goals in the first two periods of a game for the first time since 1986 and 10 in a game for the first time since 1993 in a 10-3 loss to the Blues. Goalie Joey MacDonald, playing for injured Jimmy Howard, was chased after giving up five goals midway through the second. He was back for the third after Thomas McCollum allowed three goals on eight shots in the second.

Crosby cleared for noncontact practice

Penguins center Sidney Crosby, out since Jan. 5 with a concussion, has been cleared to return to morning skates on game days, but he will not participate in full practices with contact, general manager Ray Shero said.

Crosby traveled with the team to Florida and was expected to skate this morning at the St. Pete Times Forum before tonight's game against the Lightning.

"It's a natural return for (Crosby's) progression here. His rehab has been ongoing," Shero said. "He's doing well with it, but at the same time, as a manager, I have no expectations of him coming back and playing in the regular season. That's not going to happen."

Crosby was not available for comment. He was expected to talk to the media today.

The next step for him is full practice and then perhaps a return to game action in time for the postseason. Crosby began individual workouts March 14 and has reported no setbacks.

at Hurricanes 2 2 2 6
Canadiens 0 1 1 2

First Period1, Carolina, Skinner 28, 11:01. 2, Carolina, Skinner 29 (Ruutu), 15:06. PenaltiesNone.

Second Period3, Montreal, Cammalleri 17 (Wisniewski, Plekanec), 5:23 (pp). 4, Carolina, McBain 6 (Cole, Stillman), 6:10. 5, Carolina, Pitkanen 4 (Ruutu, Skinner), 9:03. PenaltiesBra.Sutter, Car (tripping), 3:52; Desharnais, Mon (hooking), 15:39.

Third Period6, Montreal, Subban 12 (Wisniewski, Plekanec), 9:01 (pp). 7, Carolina, McBain 7 (Bowman), 15:24. 8, Carolina, Stillman 11 (Corvo, E.Staal), 17:47 (pp). PenaltiesE.Staal, Car (hooking), 4:44; E.Staal, Car (slashing), 8:56; Subban, Mon (slashing), 10:20; Gill, Mon (tripping), 16:46; Pouliot, Mon, misconduct, 16:46; Subban, Mon, misconduct, 16:46; Gleason, Car, misconduct, 16:46; Hamrlik, Mon (hooking), 17:47. Shots on GoalMontreal 17-15-8—40. Carolina 15-11-9—35. Power-play opportunitiesMontreal 2 of 3; Carolina 1 of 4. GoaliesMontreal, Price 35-28-6 (26 shots-22 saves), Auld (0:00 third, 9-7). Carolina, Ward 34-25-9 (40-38).

at Sabres 0 1 0 1
Rangers 0 0 0 0

First PeriodNone. PenaltiesCallahan, NYR (roughing), 19:52; Stafford, Buf (elbowing), 19:52.

Second Period1, Buffalo, Connolly 12 (Vanek, Gragnani), 5:28 (pp). PenaltiesStaal, NYR (interference), 4:50; Montador, Buf (slashing), 16:31.

Third PeriodNone. PenaltiesSekera, Buf, minor-misconduct (roughing), 20:00. Shots on GoalNYR 8-6-9—23. Buffalo 15-11-9—35. Power-play opportunitiesNYR 0 of 1; Buffalo 1 of 1. GoaliesNYR, Lundqvist 33-25-5 (35 shots-34 saves). Buffalo, Enroth 6-2-1 (23-23).

at Devils 1 1 1 3
Islanders 0 0 2 2

First Period1, N.J., Kovalchuk 28 (Palmieri, Zajac), 4:17. PenaltiesKonopka, NYI, major (fighting), 1:57; Clarkson, NJ, major (fighting), 1:57; M.Martin, NYI, major (fighting), 5:33; Leach, NJ, major (fighting), 5:33; M.Martin, NYI (roughing), 13:01; Clarkson, NJ (roughing), 13:01.

Second Period2, N.J., Josefson 3 (Palmieri, Kovalchuk), 3:23. PenaltiesTallinder, NJ (tripping), :08; Martinek, NYI (hooking), 11:10; Reese, NYI (tripping), 16:18.

Third Period3, NYI, Nielsen 12, 9:38 (sh). 4, NYI, Nielsen 13 (M.Martin, Okposo), 13:44. 5, N.J., Greene 4 (Elias, Zubrus), 15:04. PenaltiesTavares, NYI (hooking), 3:38; Rolston, NJ (tripping), 4:54; Katic, NYI, double minor (high-sticking), 7:57. Shots on GoalNYI 5-10-14—29. N.J. 7-10-3—20. Power-play opportunitiesNYI 0 of 2; N.J. 0 of 5. GoaliesNYI, DiPietro 8-12-4 (20 shots-17 saves). N.J., Brodeur 22-24-3 (29-27).

Blues 3 5 2 10
at Red Wings 2 1 0 3

First Period1, Detroit, Modano 4 (Holmstrom), 5:51. 2, St.L, Stewart 27 (Berglund, Sobotka), 14:06. 3, St.L, Janssen 1 (Reaves, McRae), 16:04. 4, Detroit, Bertuzzi 16 (Franzen, V.Filppula), 17:55. 5, St.L, Porter 1, 18:24. PenaltiesFranzen, Det (tripping), :18; Hudler, Det (interference), 7:01.

Second Period6, St.L, D'Agostini 20 (Nikitin, Sobotka), 1:54 (pp). 7, St.L, Crombeen 7 (McDonald, Polak), 5:23. 8, St.L, Backes 28 (Shattenkirk, D'Agostini), 10:04 (pp). 9, Detroit, Zetterberg 24 (Lidstrom, Franzen), 12:37 (pp). 10, St.L, Polak 3 (Porter, Crombeen), 14:47. 11, St.L, Sobotka 7 (Stewart, Nikitin), 16:10. PenaltiesFranzen, Det (roughing), :14; Cracknell, StL (hooking), 6:07; Zetterberg, Det (holding), 8:24; Cole, StL (holding stick), 10:34; St.L bench, served by Stewart (too many men), 11:40.

Third Period12, St.L, Berglund 20 (Stewart, Shattenkirk), 6:21. 13, St.L, Porter 2 (Janssen, Cracknell), 17:50. PenaltiesShattenkirk, StL (unsportsmanlike conduct), 10:53; Franzen, Det (unsportsmanlike conduct), 10:53. Shots on GoalSt.L 19-14-14—47. Detroit 11-15-18—44. Power-play opportunitiesSt.L 2 of 4; Detroit 1 of 3. GoaliesSt.L, Halak 24-20-7 (44 shots-41 saves). Detroit, MacDonald 5-5-3 (39-32), McCollum (5:23 second, 8-5), MacDonald 5-5-3 (0:00 third).

Playoff chase

With nonshootout wins (first tiebreaker in determining final playoff spots) and games left. Division winners get top three seeds:

East Pts. Wins GR

1. Flyers-x102 43 6

2. Capitals-x99 40 5

3. Bruins-x96 41 6

4. Penguins-x98 36 5

5. Lightning93 35 6

6. Canadiens89 38 4

7. Sabres87345

8. Rangers87 33 5

9. Hurricanes84325

10. Maple Leafs80 31 5

West Pts. Wins GR

1. Canucks-z111 47 5

2. Red Wings98 40 5

3. Sharks 97 39 6

4. Coyotes9537 4

5. Kings 94 35 6

6. Predators92 35 5

7. Ducks* 91 39 6

8. Blackhawks90 36 6

9. Flames* 87 29 5

10. Stars8733 7

y-Clinched division x-Clinched playoffs z-Clinched conference * Late result not included

Hurricanes edge closer to playoffs 03/31/11 [Last modified: Thursday, March 31, 2011 12:11am]

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