RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The Carolina Hurricanes are starting to play much better than their place in the Eastern Conference standings suggests.
Jeff Skinner and Tim Brent scored first-period goals for the Hurricanes, who held off the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 on Monday night.
Carolina, which played for the third time in four nights, is 8-2-1 in its last 11 home games. The Hurricanes will now have a week off for the All-Star break. They are 12th in the East, just two points ahead of last-place Buffalo.
``We have been playing well lately, and it's probably a good time for our guys to recharge from what's happened at the beginning of the year to now,' said coach Kirk Muller, who is 10-11-5 since taking over on Nov. 28. ``After three games in four nights you could see us losing our legs, but they found a great way to battle and pick up points. It will be a well-deserved break for them.'
The Hurricanes, who lost their previous three games to Winnipeg this season, took advantage of a shaky start by Jets goalie Chris Mason, who finished with 14 saves in his 300th NHL game.
Winnipeg coach Claude Noel said his defense didn't do enough to support Mason.
``Our goalies have been really good,' Noel said. ``It's going to happen some games. That's the way it goes. You just hope your team can help the goalie out.'
Kyle Wellwood scored at 13:47 of the second period, but Winnipeg fell to 3-7-1 in its last 11 games.
Cam Ward stopped 29 shots for his 18th win.
Skinner opened the scoring 3:55 in the contest when he got his own rebound and flicked a shot past Mason. Brent sent a shot from the left circle that found its way between Mason's pads at 9:28 to make it 2-0.
``I felt good out there,' said Skinner, who played in his fifth game since missing 16 because of a concussion. ``I think the compete level has been a lot better (for the team). This stretch at home, we've been skating hard and competing.
``Even in the games we haven't won, we've been in them and they've been one-goal games. It's a lot better feeling in the locker room when you play that way.'
Since giving up four power-play goals in five chances at Nashville on Jan. 7, Carolina has gone eight games without allowing one. The Hurricanes allowed two power-play chances to Winnipeg and killed both to run their string to 15 straight.
``It's nice to go into the break on a good note,' Ward said. ``Tonight was another great night for our defense.'
The Hurricanes were held without a shot for more than 11 minutes of the third period. Carolina finally got a shot in on Mason during a power play.
NOTES: Carolina F Jiri Tlusty played his 200th NHL game. ... Winnipeg's Wellwood and Tobias Enstrom extended their point streaks to five games. ... Carolina F Chad LaRose was injured early in the second period and didn't return.
The Associated Press News Service
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