Skinner leads Hurricanes past Canadiens, 6-2

Jeff Skinner had two goals and an assist, and the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Montreal Canadiens 6-2 on Wednesday night to continue their push for a playoff spot.

Fellow rookie Jamie McBain also scored two goals, Cory Stillman had a goal and an assist and Joni Pitkanen also scored for the ninth-place Hurricanes, three points behind Buffalo and the New York Rangers in the race for one of the eight Eastern Conference playoff spots. Carolina has won six of its last eight.

Mike Cammalleri and rookie P.K. Subban scored power-play goals for Montreal, which held a 40-35 shots advantage yet lost for the fifth time in seven games.

Cam Ward made 38 saves for the Hurricanes. Carey Price stopped 22 shots but allowed four goals in two periods for the Canadiens. Alex Auld replaced him to start the third and finished with seven saves.

Carolina never trailed and was in control all night long, scoring twice in each period en route to its highest-scoring game since a 6-4 win over Toronto on Jan. 24.

When Montreal briefly made it a one-goal game in the second, the Hurricanes used a pair of goals from their defensemen to pull away and improve to 7-11-1 in the second games when they play on back-to-back nights.

Cammalleri pulled the Canadiens to 2-1 when, after some nifty stickhandling in front of Ward, he chipped the puck over the goalie's shoulder.

But 47 seconds after that goal, McBain restored Carolina's two-goal lead when he uncorked a slap shot from behind the circle that beat Price high, and Pitkanen then extended it to three goals with a straightaway slap shot with 10:57 left.

Carolina got off to got off to a fast start, courtesy of their 18-year-old budding star who certainly has been on a tear lately.

Skinner scored the Hurricanes' first two goals, striking first with 8:59 left in the opening period when he beat Price with a pretty snap shot. Roughly 4 minutes later, he made it 2-0 when he beat Price with a backhand for his 29th goal. Skinner had the secondary assist on Pitkanen's goal, giving him his fourth three-point game of the season.

That came after the NHL's youngest player came up big a night earlier at Washington. Skinner scored a third-period goal and added a score in the shootout to help the Hurricanes claim a win over the Capitals, and has five goals in six games.

NOTES: Montreal C Tomas Plekanec and D James Wisniewski each had two assists. ... Plekanec has nine points in four games this season against Carolina. ... Carolina RW Tuomo Ruutu added two assists. ... Play was stopped for 12 minutes early in the third when Ruutu's hit on Montreal D Hal Gill near the Hurricanes' bench shattered the glass, showering it on Carolina equipment manager Bob Gorman, who did not appear to be hurt.