Aho dominates, Ward gets shutout in Hurricanes win in Pittsburgh

Victory solidifies Carolina's hold on second wild card spot, moves them within a point of Rangers

Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho drives to the net on Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz and center Evgeni Malkin before scoring his first of two third-period goals at PPG PAINTS Arena. The Hurricanes won 4-0. (Charles LeClaire / USA TODAY Sports)

Sebastian Aho had two goals and an assist and Cam Ward pitched a 21-save shutout in the Carolina Hurricanes’ 4-0 win Thursday in Pittsburgh.

Jeff Skinner’s unassisted goal in the second period snapped a scoreless tie and wound up being the game-winner, giving Carolina (19-13-8) its fifth win in seven games. The Hurricanes claimed sole possession of the second wild card spot with the win. The Penguins dropped to 20-19-3 and fell further back in the playoff race.

Skinner took the puck away from Pittsburgh defenseman Ian Cole and potted his 13th marker of the season at 6:50 for the only goal the Hurricanes required. But they kept adding on to make things easier for Ward.

Teuvo Teravainen notched his 11th goal at 16:53 to make it 2-0 on a tic-tac-toe play featuring passes from Aho and Jaccob Slavin.

Aho sealed the result in the third period with a pair of goals. Aho blew by Pittsburgh defender Justin Schultz and scored at 9:14 for a three-goal cushion. Then at 12:33, Aho tallied his 13th of the season by redirecting a shot by linemate Teravainen.

Ward (11-2-2), who’s wrested the starting job from offseason signee Scott Darling, earned his first shutout of the season.

Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray (14-12-1) stopped 29 of 33 shots in the losing cause. The Penguins have lost eight of their last 12 games.