An unexpected Ales Hemsky start and late scratch by Antoine Roussel kicked things off tonight. Hemsky, who has been struggling with his repaired hips in recent days, came back into the lineup as Roussel is listed as day to day with an upper body injury. He may have tweaked something in morning skate, because he participated while Hemsky stayed out late working with the coaches like most of the scratches do on game days.
It was a harbinger of a game to come, with a nice last minute switch-a-roo in the Stars' win.
The first period was exactly what you don't mind seeing on the road: no offense either way and an advantage in shots on goal to the tune of 13-6. Not a ton of work for Kari Lehtonen in net, but he did come up with one big save on a bang-bang sequence. He stopped both Eric Staal and Jordan Staal on the initial shot and the rebound to help keep the Hurricanes scoreless.
Another period of the Stars dominating possession but coming up with nothing to show for it.
Unfortunately for the boys in green, the Hurricanes seemed to find their legs in the second period. They opened the scoring early in the period off a slot shot from Jordan Staal. Because he was left there basically uncovered. Poor defensive breakdown to allow that combined with a spinning Lehtonen that couldn't get across the crease fast enough to cover the net after coming to the post to cover with Eric Staal on his back doorstep.
Dallas managed to create an equalizer off of a controversial play. Colton Sceviour went rushing towards the front of the net and did some kind of somersault over Eddie Lack, who was off to the side of the net. Lack clearly felt that a goaltender interference call should have been forthcoming, and sat on the ice waiting for a call that never came. Instead, Ales Hemsky would grab the rebound and put it right into a gaping net.
The play was reminiscent of a similar goal that Dallas had scored against them a few games ago which brought into question the amount of time between a goaltender getting interfered with and when the goal occurred. Just as that goal review went so did the goal review tonight, with the goal being upheld as a good hockey goal.
The end of the second period was a little heart-attack inducing, as Vernon Fiddler went down to block a shot and then crumpled onto the ice. He did leave the ice at the end of the period under his own volition and putting weight on the leg which blocked the shot. He returned in the third period without missing any of the game, but he's going to have a wicked bruise to show for his commitment to defense.
Dallas finally remembered they have one of the top ranked offenses and busted out with two goals in quick succession to make the score 3-1. Radek Faksa's first goal of his career was the one that put it out of reach for the Hurricanes. This was the best part of that goal though:
The Hurricanes did a pretty good job as the game went on with boxing the Stars players to the outsides of the ice and cutting down on the number of high scoring chances right in front of the net. They also did a good job with clogging up the neutral zone, with the Stars struggling to get the puck into the zone cleanly at times in the game.
Dallas let players into that area of the ice quite a bit tonight. However, there was often several of them right there to block shots or shovel loose pucks away from Lehtonen. You'd like to see less of the scrambly nature of play in front than Lehtonen had tonight moving forward.