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Hurricanes Zip Wings To Stay Alive In Playoff Chase

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Head Coach Mike Babcock of the Detroit Red Wings. (File Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

Head Coach Mike Babcock of the Detroit Red Wings. (File Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Cam Ward made 42 saves for his second shutout in a month, and the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-0 on Wednesday to remain alive for a playoff spot.

Jeff Skinner and Derek Joslin scored in the second period before Erik Cole scored in the third. The Hurricanes have won seven of nine to move to 89 points and remain in the hunt for just their second postseason berth since they won the 2006 Stanley Cup.

They need some help to get there, with the clearest path requiring them to win both of their final two games while the New York Rangers, eighth with 91 points, lose one of their last two.

Eric Staal added three assists to help Carolina beat Detroit for the first time since 2006.

Jimmy Howard made 29 saves for the Central Division champion Red Wings, who lost star left winger Henrik Zetterberg to a lower-body injury.

Zetterberg, who collided with Carolina defenseman Bryan Allen midway through the first period, has a team-best 80 points and entered with 11 points in his previous 10 games.

As strong as Ward was in net, Detroit certainly could have used him.

Ward, who entered 0-3 in his career against Red Wings with a goals-against average of 3.35 against them, was impenetrable in his fourth shutout of the season and 16th of his career. His most impressive sequence might’ve come when he made two saves — with defenseman Tim Gleason blocking another puck — during an early rapid-fire pileup in front of the net.

One of Carolina’s newest defensemen gave him all the offensive support he’d need.

Joslin’s first goal as a Hurricane put them up roughly 4 minutes into the second when, after Cory Stillman dug the puck out of the boards, he found Joslin at the point and the rugged defenseman uncorked a low slap shot that beat Howard to his stick side.

That was a sigh of relief for the Hurricanes, who missed on their first two chances with the man advantage and were 0 for 6 on the power play three nights earlier in a 2-1 overtime loss to Buffalo that dealt a serious blow to their playoff chances.

The highlight of the night came on Skinner’s goal, his fourth in five games. Staal unloaded a slap shot that bounced off Howard’s pads, and Skinner scooped up the puck near the right post, wrapped it around and tucked it between the left post and Howard’s glove to make it a two-goal game with 1:13 left in the second.

Cole then delivered the dagger eight seconds after Carolina killed a double-minor high-sticking penalty on Drayson Bowman, taking a one-time feed from Staal and blasting it past Howard to make it a three-goal game with 14:16 left.

Notes

Staal, who has points in eight of nine games, had his first three-assist game since he had four against Edmonton on Nov. 9. … Skinner leads all rookies with 59 points. … The Red Wings were 10-0-1 in their previous 11 games against the Eastern Conference. … Someone threw an octopus on the ice with roughly five minutes left, in an apparent effort to inspire the Red Wings.

Copyright 2011 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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