RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes are finding ways to win, and Jeff Skinner usually has been a big part of it.
Skinner's 20th goal of the season, with 3:31 left in regulation Sunday, gave the Canes a hard-fought 2-1 victory against the Nashville Predators at PNC Arena.
The Canes, coming off a tough road win Saturday against the New York Islanders, extended their winning streak to four games as Anton Khudobin made his third straight start in net and had 31 saves.
For the first time in 191 games, the Hurricanes played without captain Eric Staal, who was sidelined with a lower-body injury. Canes coach Kirk Muller said before the game that Staal could be out five or six days.
Alex Semin's first-period goal gave the Canes a 1-0 lead that Carolina carried into the third period.
Playing on a line centered by Skinner, Semin found a creative way to score at 4:28 of the first. After Skinner's attempt hit the side of the net, the puck bounced off the end boards and back to Semin, whose tight-angle shot went off the back of Preds goalie Carter Hutton.
After a scoreless second, the Preds were able to break through against Khudobin in the third. Patric Hornqvist's power-play goal came after Canes defenseman Ryan Murphy was called for interference against Preds forward Matt Cullen.
Hornqvist muscled in the puck at the post as he battled with defenseman Ron Hainsey. The Canes claimed Hornqvist kicked in the puck and the play was reviewed, but the goal stood.
Semin and Tuomo Ruutu each had two assists for the Canes.
Skinner took a puck to the face with two minutes left in the second period and was taken to the dressing room for treatment. He returned for the third.
There were no penalties called until 10.2 seconds were left in the second, when the Preds' Mattias Ekholm flipped the puck over the glass for a delay-of-game penalty. That changed in the third, when three penalties were called in the first five minutes.
Khudobin, making his third straight start, stopped 11 shots in the first and 12 in the second. Khudobin had 38 saves Thursday in beating the Washington Capitals, then another 38 stops Saturday in the 3-2 win against the New York Islanders.
Late in the first, Khudobin made a sprawling save on a shot by the Preds' David Legwand. Moments later, after a faceoff win by the Preds, he smothered a shot by rookie defenseman Seth Jones.
With seven minutes left in the second, the Preds' Paul Gaustad had a scoring chance only to have Murphy knock the loose puck out of the crease. About two minutes later Eric Nystrom's attempt was just wide of the post.
Staal missed his first game since Feb. 26, 2011. He left Saturday's game against the New York Islanders.
The Canes recalled forward Aaron Palushaj on Sunday from the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL. Palushaj made his first NHL appearance for Carolina.
Both the Canes and Preds played Saturday on the road and had to travel. The Preds lost in a shootout to the Florida Panthers.
Goalie Marek Mazanec started the past four games for the Preds. Hutton made his first start since Dec. 27 at Dallas.
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