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Welcome back Jeff Skinner

Carolina Hurricanes v Philadelphia Flyers

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 21: Jeff Skinner #53 of the Carolina Hurricanes celebrates his goal at 19:45 of the first period against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on November 21, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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The time has arrived for Carolina -- Jeff Skinner is back and ready to play.

The Hurricanes activated Skinner from injured reserve and will have him in the lineup tonight against Washington as the Hurricanes hope to win their third straight game. Skinner has been out of action since a game in early December where Andy Sutton hit him from behind putting him out of action.

When Skinner left the Hurricanes lineup with a concussion he was tops on the team in points. He returns seeing captain Eric Staal returning to form as the team’s leader and playing solid hockey of late. Rejoining the lineup like this means Carolina could be ready to make a push in the Southeast Division.

As it is, Carolina has overtaken Tampa Bay for fourth place and are just six points back of Winnipeg for third. The Hurricanes are nine points behind Washington for the eighth spot in the East. Skinner’s return should help give Carolina a lift they’ve been in need of lately. If it can’t do that, the Hurricanes could be sellers at the trade deadline.