Jeff Skinner helps Hurricanes beat Flames 2-1

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — The Carolina Hurricanes are doing their best to prove they are for real.

Jeff Skinner scored his team-leading third goal and had an assist to lead Carolina to a 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Thursday night.

The Hurricanes completed a sweep of Alberta after beating Edmonton 5-3 on Tuesday night.

“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,” said Justin Williams, who scored 1:09 into the third period to make it 2-0.

Williams got the puck near the faceoff dot and, as Mike Smith slid across and stacked his pads, the veteran wired a shot under the crossbar. The Hurricanes were on their fifth power play of the game, the result of an undisciplined roughing penalty on Matthew Tkachuk at the end of the second — an infraction the 19-year-old accepted the blame for.

“That was stupid, uncalled for at the end of the period,” Tkachuk said. “You can’t put yourself in that position. I take full responsibility.”

Flames coach Glen Gulutzan wasn’t happy with it, either.

“He should take full responsibility for the penalty,” Gulutzan said. “Now it’s 2-0 against a good defensive team. That’s a tough hill to come back from.”

Sean Monahan scored for Calgary.

Carolina improved to 3-1-1 overall and 2-1-0 on a four-game trip.

Monahan spoiled Scott Darling’s shutout bid when he one-timed Johnny Gaudreau’s pass inside the goal post.

Also assisting on the play was Jaromir Jagr. The 45-year-old, still looking for his first goal with Calgary, also was the victim on one of Darling’s best saves. In third period, Darling threw up his glove to stab Jagr’s dangerous chance from just a few feet away.

“Those are the ones you just get desperate and throw some body parts at,” Darling said “It’s pretty cool it was him. I didn’t know it at the time. He’s Jaromir Jagr. It’s cool to say you made a save on him.”

Darling finished with 25 saves.

In a scary incident halfway through the first period, Skinner hit veteran Kris Versteeg twice in a row with shots. First, he hit him in the knee. Just a few seconds later while Versteeg was down on the ice, writhing in pain, Skinner’s slap shot appeared to hit him in the helmet.

Versteeg had to be carried off the ice, but Versteeg returned early on in the second.

NOTES: Carolina scored once on six power, plays while the Flames were scoreless on their lone attempt. … For the first time in his four games, Jagr played right wing on the Flames’ top line with Monahan and Gaudreau. … Carolina defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk (concussion) returned after missing three games.


Hurricanes: At Dallas on Saturday night.

Flames: Host Minnesota on Saturday night.


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