Hurricanes shut down Blues
Raleigh, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Jeff Skinner recorded the deciding goal early in the second period and Anton Khudobin stopped 27 pucks, as Carolina bested St. Louis, 3-1, on Friday.
Nathan Gerbe and Alexander Semin also tallied for the Hurricanes, who have taken five of their last six.
"Right from the get go I thought our guys were focused," said Carolina head coach Kirk Muller.
David Backes scored and Jaroslav Halak made 28 stops for the Blues, who were denied a fourth consecutive victory.
Skinner's low shot from between the circles made it 2-1 for the hosts less than two minutes into the second. Jordan Staal set up the score, by winning a left-circle draw and holding off a checker so that Skinner had a lane to shoot.
St. Louis was forced to play catch up from there. The visitors failed to click on three straight power plays late in the middle period and into the early portion of the third.
The Blues had a prime chance to tie the contest with Halak on the bench in the final 82 seconds, but on the next shift, Semin wrestled the puck from a visiting defender in the neutral zone and eventually scored into the open net.
"We looked like wanted an easier game and we didn't get it," noted Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock.
Gerbe made the most of a cross-ice Andrej Sekera dish, beating Halak with a one-timer from the right circle on a Carolina advantage at 3:46 of the first.
Backes ripped one past Khudobin on the Blues' first advantage, tying the game at 9:23, only 12 seconds after 'Canes blueliner Ron Hainsey went off for hooking.
Khudobin has allowed two goals or less in all of his 15 starts this season ... The Blues fell to 17-4-1 against the East this season ... St. Louis defenseman Jay Bouwmeester had a seven-game point streak (3G, 5A) against the Hurricanes snapped on Friday ... The clubs split the season series, with each team winning on home ice.
01/31 22:57:03 ET