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Skille comes through for Blue Jackets in win at Carolina

The SportsXchange

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Right winger Jack Skille hasn't had many chances to play for the Columbus Blue Jackets in recent weeks.

But he keeps showing he's prone to being productive when he's on the ice.

Skille scored with 2:34 remaining as the Blue Jackets rallied in the waning minutes to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 on Monday night at PNC Arena.

"We're that type of team," Skille said. "We have a lot of character and we want to finish games strong."

Skille, who was playing in only his ninth game, has four goals. He has been in and out of the lineup because of a wrist injury, playing Monday night for only the second time in the team's last nine games.

"Any time you get an opportunity, you want to show what you can do and gain the coach's trust," Skille said.

Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen scored his team-leading 15th goal of the season on a 2-on-1 break with 4:01 left to tie the game. He took a pass from left winger Nick Foligno.

That came after Hurricanes right winger Alexander Semin scored his first goal in almost two months to snap a third-period tie and forward Jeff Skinner scored twice.

But Carolina, which lost its third game in a row, didn't protect the lead.

"That's a huge stunner right there," Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said. "We'll hurt for a couple of days. That's terrible timing."

Center Artem Anisimov and right winger Corey Tropp also scored for Columbus.

Skille's goal came off Anisimov's pass.

"It was right on my tape and I just ripped it," Skille said.

Despite a 16-8 third-period edge in shots on goal, the Hurricanes were caught on a bad line change on Columbus' last goal.

"You can't make mistakes late in the game that are going to cost you," Muller said. "They capitalized on two 'A' chances."

The outcome gave Blue Jackets goaltender Mike McKenna his first victory in his fourth appearance with the team. He made 30 saves, though he downplayed his impact of sending the team on a holiday break in a good mood.

"Coming back from the break (strong) is as important as going into it," McKenna said.

McKenna was in the nets because goalie Curtis McElhinney's back tightened up and caused the pregame change.

"It's not an easy situation but I think that's twice (McKenna has) come in in a tough situation and has done a great job," Columbus coach Todd Richards said.

Hurricanes goalie Justin Peters stopped 21 shots.

Carolina was pressuring for a fourth goal before its one-goal lead disappeared.

"We've got to end it and we weren't able to do that," said center Eric Staal, the team captain. "We didn't make some good reads and it cost us."

Semin's fourth goal of the season -- and first since Oct. 24 -- came on center Jordan Staal's second assist of the game with 10:54 remaining.

Semin's goal drought encompassed 14 games because he missed more than three weeks with an injury.

"We need him contributing to the team," Muller said.

Skinner, a left winger, scored a pair of power-play goals. He has 10 goals in a 10-game period.

Anisimov became the fifth Columbus player to reach the 10-goal plateau this season.

Tropp's goal, which came with 4:21 remaining in the second period, was his first of the season in 21 games.

The Blue Jackets scored at 9:45 of the first period when Anisimov converted from in front of the net after right winger Cam Atkinson won the race to the puck beyond the end line and delivered a perfect pass. Anisimov unleashed the shot before he was knocked down by Carolina defenseman Andrej Sekera.

Skinner's power-play goal at 18:49 tied the game at 1.

Tropp regained the lead for the Blue Jackets at 15:39 of the second period shortly after a Columbus power play expired.

Less than a minute later, Carolina pulled even again when Skinner scored off a face-off to begin a 5-on-3 power play.

NOTES: The teams met for the first of five times this season. They are both members of the new Metropolitan Division. ... Carolina entered the game with identical 7-7-4 records at home and on the road. ... Columbus C Artem Anisimov extended his season-high points streak to three game with his first-period goal. ... Hurricanes D Jay Harrison was scratched due to an upper-body injury. ... Columbus was without LW Matt Calvert, who suffered a sprained shoulder Saturday night. He might be out of action for a few weeks. ... Columbus C Derek MacKenzie was back on the ice after a two-game absence caused by a lower-body injury. ... The Blue Jackets, who play only one home game in a seven-game stretch, visit the New Jersey Devils on Friday. ... The Hurricanes began a four-game stretch that includes three home games, including Friday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
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