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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Jeff Skinner scored the go-ahead goal in the second period and the Carolina Hurricanes beat the St. Louis Blues 3-1 on Friday night.
 
Alexander Semin added an empty-netter with 1:04 left and Nathan Gerbe scored on an early power play.
 
They helped the Hurricanes win their fifth in six games to remain in the mix in the crowded Metropolitan Division.
 
David Backes scored on the power play for St. Louis.
 
The Blues, who average 3.36 goals per game, missed a chance to pull even with Chicago atop the Central Division by losing just their fourth game against an Eastern Conference team.
 
Anton Khudobin stopped 26 shots for the Hurricanes.
 
Jaroslav Halak made 28 saves in his fourth straight start, but had his four-game winning streak snapped.
 
Khudobin stopped all 10 shots he faced in the third period, including a nifty leg save on Alex Pietrangelo with about 1 1/2 minutes left.
 
And, he got some help from the goal post after two Blues - Jaden Schwartz and Jay Bouwmeester - each rang it in the final 2 minutes.
 
Semin then tacked on his highlight-reel empty-net goal that capped the Hurricanes' best month in a while.
 
They went 10-4 in January - their most since winning 10 in March 2009 on the way to their most recent playoff appearance.
 
Skinner put Carolina up 2-1 off a draw 1:51 into the second. After Jordan Staal won a faceoff, the puck found Skinner's stick and he beat Halak with a wrist shot from the slot for his seventh goal of the month.
 
That turned out to be enough support for Khudobin, who earned the decision in every game this month for Carolina.
 
He helped the Hurricanes leapfrog idle Columbus and Philadelphia in the division standings, with 59 points. When the night started, only 11 points separated second place from the cellar in the Metropolitan.
 
The Hurricanes never trailed on Friday, taking advantage of some sloppy play early by the Blues - who were whistled for three penalties in the opening 11:25. Carolina went up 1-0 when Gerbe one-timed a slick cross-ice pass from Andrej Sekera 3:46 in.
 
The Blues, who have the league's second-best power-play unit, tied it at 9:23 when Backes beat Khudobin high for his 150th career goal with St. Louis.
 
NOTES: St. Louis finished the month 9-5-0. ... The Blues entered with 37 points on the road, the second-best total in the league, but have not won in Raleigh since 2009. ... Carolina G Cam Ward, out all of January with an unspecified lower-body injury, made a conditioning start Friday night with Charlotte of the AHL.
Friday, 31 January 2014 23:15
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BOLIVAR, Mo. (AP) - A southwest Missouri man accused of plotting shooting attacks at a movie theater and a Walmart has been found guilty.
 
Polk County Prosecutor Ken Ashlock said Blaec Lammers was convicted Friday of first-degree assault and armed criminal action. Judge William Roberts on Thursday threw out a charge of making a terrorist threat. Lammers agreed to allow a judge to hear the case without a jury present.
 
Ashlock said Lammers told authorities he originally planned to open fire on the opening-night crowd for "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 2" at a Bolivar theater in November 2012. He then opted for the Walmart because he could get more ammunition there.
 
Lammers was arrested after his mother told police she feared he was planning an attack.
 
Sentencing is scheduled for March 20.
Friday, 31 January 2014 16:41
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - One of Missouri's largest labor organizations has hired a former Republican House Speaker as a lobbyist.
 
The Missouri AFL-CIO hired Steve Tilley this week as the labor organization prepares to combat "right to work" measures this year. The legislation would prohibit labor contracts from requiring that all employees pay union fees.
 
Tilley was first elected to the House in 2004 and became Speaker in 2011. While in that office he shied away from "right to work" and said it was not part of his agenda.
 
He left the House in 2012 to become a lobbyist when term limits barred him from seeking re-election.
 
"Right to work" is a top priority this year of House Speaker Tim Jones, Tilley's successor. Jones says Missouri needs the policy to compete for jobs.
Friday, 31 January 2014 16:40
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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - University of Missouri athletics director Mike Alden says the school's initial response to news reports of a former swimmer's suicide could have been handled better.
 
Alden told reporters in interviews late Thursday that he expects Missouri to learn from Sasha Menu Courey's death and use it to bolster its student mental health services rather than "trying to defend" its actions.
 
The interviews mark Alden's first public comments on the case. Missouri curators voted Wednesday to approve an independent legal investigation.
 
Menu Courey killed herself in June 2011 in a Boston psychiatric hospital soon after being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and two months after an earlier suicide attempt while still at Missouri. Her reports of a 2010 rape by several school football players are now under investigation by Columbia police.
Friday, 31 January 2014 16:36
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