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Gameday: Skinner to Play, Faulk Hits 100

Saturday, 04.20.2013 / 12:30 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Gameday: Skinner to Play, Faulk Hits 100
Having avoided a concussion, Jeff Skinner will return to the lineup for the Carolina Hurricanes as they take on the Philadelphia Flyers.

Michael Smith
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Skinner was laid out by Jared Cowen, who is a good half-foot taller, in the neutral zone during the first period of Tuesday’s game in Ottawa. Skinner left the game and did not return, held out of the game as a precaution.

“I respect the decision the doctor made,” he said. “I agree that you have to be safe and cautious.”

Safe and cautious, especially when replays seemed to show Cowen’s shoulder connecting squarely with Skinner’s head. Cowen was not penalized in-game or subsequently, but the Hurricanes did record five fighting majors in the game for the first time since Oct. 28, 2003.

“He’s trying to take the body. He’s trying to hit,” Skinner said. “It’s a physical game, and guys are going to run into each other. I don’t think it’s dirty. I think it’s a clean hit.”

At 20 years old and having already suffered two concussions, there was obvious concern for a third.

“After the game, the doctors here wanted to take a look at me, so we thought the best thing was to come home,” said Skinner, who flew back to Raleigh and missed the team’s game Thursday in Winnipeg. “He didn’t think it was a concussion, but he wanted to make sure. He wanted to run through the tests and make sure we weren’t missing anything because everyone knows there is some gray area.”

Getting that queasy feeling of déjà vu, Skinner was undoubtedly relieved when he was cleared to play.

“It’s pretty frustrating,” he said. “I’m glad it turned out the way it did.”

On the blue line, sophomore defenseman Justin Faulk will play his 100th game in the NHL tonight.

Asked if he was aware of this, he smiled and said, “That is the rumor.

“One hundred is a good number, but it’s obviously not what I want to end at,” he added.

Faulk logged 66 games in his rookie season, and after recently missing nine games with a knee sprain, he’ll play his 34th game in this shortened season.

“He’s a very good young hockey player,” said head coach Kirk Muller after Thursday’s game. “It was a big loss for us this year when he got hurt.”

Faulk leads the Hurricanes in average ice time per game at 23:33, minutes logged in all situations. The 21-year-old defenseman carries a three-game assist and point streak into tonight’s contest. He ranks tied for first among Carolina blue liners in assists (10).

“He’s out there in all the key situations,” Muller said. “Offensively and defensively, he can play against other top lines. For a young kid at that position, he’s a pretty special player.”

Faulk, who has been under the tutelage of assistant coach Dave Lewis since entering the league, has high praise for the Canes’ defensive mind, saying he’ll critique little elements of Faulk’s game that make a noticeable impact.

“Some of the stuff he points out to you, you’d never notice,” Faulk said. “I think that’s why he’s viewed as one of the better defensive coaches in the league.

“There’s good dialogue there, and he’s helped me a lot to just get comfortable in the league,” he continued. “He trusts me in all situations, which gives me a bit more confidence in every aspect of the game.”

On the ice is a continual learning process, something Faulk said will never end. Off the ice, his teammates have played an integral role in his first 100 games.

“I’ve been lucky enough to have a bunch of good guys around to help me out away from the rink,” he said. “They’ve helped ease the transition to playing in this league.”

So, what’s next?

“I’m happy that I’ve been able to play 100 games at 21 years old, but hopefully there’s plenty more to come,” Faulk said.

In one other lineup note, look for Justin Peters to start his sixth straight game in net. He’ll be opposed by trade-deadline-day-acquisition Steve Mason for Philadelphia.



SCHEDULE

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AWAY
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
4 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
5 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
6 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 53 27 19 7 138 135 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 55 25 24 6 154 169 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 54 15 19 -13 34
J. Skinner 54 19 12 -3 31
V. Rask 52 12 19 0 31
J. Staal 54 12 19 8 31
K. Versteeg 53 10 21 1 31
E. Staal 54 9 21 0 30
E. Lindholm 54 8 16 -9 24
A. Nestrasil 47 7 12 0 19
J. Nordstrom 43 5 9 2 14
R. Hainsey 54 3 11 -11 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 15 11 6 .908 2.38
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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