Skinner’s hat trick strengthens Hurricanes to victory over Ducks


ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) At the rate the Carolina Hurricanes have been scoring goals lately all they need is for goalies Eddie Lack and Cam Ward to keep the puck out of their net on a consistent basis as well.

Jeff Skinner scored into an empty net to complete his second career hat trick and Elias Lindholm connected on a power play, leading the Hurricanes to a 5-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night. It was their third straight game with five goals.

“Part of my job is to produce offensively,” said Skinner, who has scored six of his 11 goals in the last four games.

“It’s been up and down for me this year, but the last few games we’ve been doing a good job of creating offense and finishing off. Sometimes it’s a product of confidence.”

Jordan Staal also scored and Lack made 31 saves, losing his shutout bid with 5:51 left in the third period when Jakob Silfverberg converted a pass from behind the net by Sami Vatanen.

“You can’t play one period and win a game. It doesn’t work in this league. You’ve got to play hard for 60 minutes,” Silfverberg said.

“The first two periods was not the way we want to play “We didn’t finish our checks, we didn’t get the pucks deep – we really didn’t get into the game.”

Lack got a break with 7:46 left in the second period when Vatanen’s 50-foot slap shot hit the post with the Hurricanes leading 2-0.

“I’ve been working on a couple of things lately, and I feel like it’s all starting to come into place now,” said Lack, who came in with a 3.50 goals-against average and a 1-6-1 record. “Obviously, I haven’t been happy with my performance so far this season. But I’ve just been sticking with it.”

Playing for the first time since their 2-1 win over Pittsburgh last Sunday, the three-time defending Pacific Division champion Ducks finished their second-longest homestand of the season 3-2-1.

“We had four days off, and we should have expected to come out and play one of our best games of the season,” said captain Ryan Getzlaf, who engaged Ron Hainsey in a fight 4 seconds after the faceoff following the goal by Lindholm that made it 3-0.

“We didn’t do a good job of getting emotionally involved in the gamer. We’re out of a playoff spot right now, so every game should be a big game.”

John Gibson stopped 14 of 17 shots in his seventh straight start for Anaheim – a stretch that included shutouts against Vancouver and San Jose. Frederik Andersen, who missed the previous seven games because of the flu, replaced Gibson at the start of the third. It was his first appearance since Nov. 21.

“They came ready to play and they outworked us. We weren’t ready to play, and it’s disappointing all around,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “The chances we did get, we didn’t bury them – which has sort of been the case all year. I don’t know why the offense is so dry.

“We’re in a position where we can’t afford to all of a sudden not be ready to play and have a lackluster game,” Boudreau added. “We have to find a way to win five, six, seven in a row like other teams in our division are doing. I thought this was a game that was going to catapult us to the next level, but we took a step back.”

Skinner converted a rebound for his and the Hurricanes’ second goal after Victor Rask worked the puck away from Andrew Cogliano in the right corner and tried to jam it inside the post.

Boudreau challenged the goal, claiming goaltender interference by Rask, but the play stood after after a video review by league officials in Toronto.

Cogliano was sent off for high-sticking Jaccob Slavin with 3:32 left in the second, and Lindholm scored 25 seconds later. It was the Hurricanes’ fifth power play goals in four games, after an eight-game stretch in which they were 2 for 24.

Ducks center Nate Thompson received a major penalty and a game misconduct at 6:25 of the first for elbowing Justin Faulk in the face, a split-second after as Faulk passed the puck in the Anaheim zone.

NOTES: Skinner’s other hat trick was on Dec. 5, 2013, at Nashville. He also finished that one with an empty-netter. … Carolina’s victory was its first on the road since Oct. 29 against the New York Islanders.