Carolina Hurricanes goalie Anton Khudobin spent two and half months this season recovering from an ankle injury, and became so bored he started playing with Legos.

Khudobin said Sunday he once built a truck out of Legos, saying it took him 12 hours to complete.

But Khudobin has put the toys away and is back to playing games, and now is a big part of the Hurricanes building a four-game winning streak. Making his third straight start, Khudobin had 31 saves as the Canes outfought the Nashville Predators 2-1 at PNC Arena.

Jeff Skinner and Alexander Semin provided the goals for the Canes (18-16-9), who played without injured captain Eric Staal for the first time in 191 games. Skinner’s goal, on a shot from the right circle with three minutes, 31 seconds left in regulation, was the winner and his 20th of the season.

“He keeps on ticking,” Canes coach Kirk Muller said of Skinner. “As I said before, he’s scoring but he’s really scoring clutch goals.”

Skinner, who was used at center with Staal out, was hit by a flying puck late in the second period and taken to the dressing room. He returned to start the third with a puffy upper lip but scored his 16th goal in the past 16 games off a pass from Tuomo Ruutu, who had two assists.

Semin scored early in the game, banging the puck off the backside of Predators goalie Carter Hutton and into the net for his sixth goal of the season.

For a long stretch, it appeared Semin’s goal might be the only goal. Khudobin was turning back shot after shot, just as he did in 38-save wins over the Washington Capitals on Thursday and the New York Islanders on Saturday. Hutton, making his first start since Dec. 27, also was solid.

Khudobin’s start against the Caps was his first for the Canes since Oct. 13, when he turned his ankle against the Phoenix Coyotes. Muller decided to use him again against the Isles, then told him late Saturday night that he would get another start Sunday.