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RALEIGH, N.C. (SportsDirect Inc) — The Carolina Hurricanes have recorded points in five of their last six games with a rejuvenated offense, and Jeff Skinner has led the way.
The 23-year-old left wing has scored nine goals in his last six contests while recapturing his 2010-11 Calder Trophy form and looks to add to his total when the Hurricanes host the Florida Panthers on Friday.
Skinner, who was held to 18 goals in 2014-15 after scoring at least 30 in two of his first four seasons, has recorded a hat trick in two of his last three contests.
“Earlier in the year, we kept talking about how close he was,” Carolina coach Bill Peters told the Raleigh News & Observer. “Now, instead of hitting posts and going out, they’re going in. He’s got to ride that wave while he can.”
Florida won’t make it easy on Skinner and the Hurricanes after defeating New Jersey on Thursday for its seventh win in its last nine road games.
Brandon Pirri, one of five players with multiple points, recorded a goal and two assists in the victory to extend his point streak to five games.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FSN Florida, FSN Carolinas
ABOUT THE PANTHERS (16-12-4): Florida is getting contributions from many different players on offense as Jussi Jokinen took over the scoring lead (23 points) with a goal and an assist Thursday and Reilly Smith tallied for the third straight game. Defenseman Aaron Ekblad did not land on the scoresheet against New Jersey but has been a major factor with five points and a plus-7 rating over the last six contests. Al Montoya was in net Thursday, which should give Roberto Luongo (.925 save percentage) the start in the second of a back-to-back set.
ABOUT THE HURRICANES (12-14-5): Carolina has scored 26 goals during its uprising, with the power play being a big part of that, converting eight of its 21 opportunities. Defenseman Justin Faulk, who is riding a five-game point streak, is the key to that unit as all 12 of his goals have come with the man advantage. Victor Rask, who has centered Skinner and Phillip Di Giuseppe (five points in six NHL games) of late, has recorded a goal and six assists in his last five contests.
1. The Panthers have won four straight in the series, including a 4-1 triumph on Oct. 13, and have outscored the Hurricanes 13-2 in that span.
2. Carolina G Eddie Lack has gone 2-0-1 while starting three consecutive games.
3. Florida RW Jaromir Jagr needs one goal to break a tie with Marcel Dionne (731) for fourth place on the all-time list.
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