The Dallas Stars lost to the Carolina Hurricanes 5-1, but they really lost to Teuvo Teravainen and his three goals and one assist. Special teams wrote part of the story, as the Stars scored their only goal on the power play, and Alexander Radulov continued to be Radu-Love as his point streak continues.
But positivity will have to wait, because oh boy. Let’s just get this done.
The Stars looked efficient, even dominant, during the first eight minutes of the game. Unfortunately, they didn’t convert any of the good chances they created on the first power play of game (a puck-over-glass by Marcus Kruger), so you had to wonder how long it would be before they’d regret it.
It didn’t take long, because you know the Stars can give ’til it hurts. And they gave Sebastian Aho a 4-on-2 about eight minutes into the period, and now he’s gone from being the player this season who’s taken the most shots on net with no tallies to being only the fifth guy to score with an assist from Teravainen (not nearly as remarkable).
Both Dan Hamhuis and Elias Lindholm (interference and tripping, respectively) went to the sin bin within about 70 seconds of each other, but neither team capitalized on the special-teams play, and the period wound down with little more to report.
The Stars were not outshot (9-9) and had a very healthy 65% in face-off wins this period. They nearly doubled the Canes in hits, 9-5 (#grit or something). But the Stars, who looked so controlled for nearly half the period, seemed to deflate after the breakup on Aho’s goal, and those breakups would come back to haunt them.
The period was barely 2:30 old before Martin Hanzal went off for hooking on Brock McGinn. For a while, the Stars remembered why their PK used to be called the Jamie Benn Power Play. They took the fight into the Canes’ zone and kept up enough pressure to negate the man advantage. It was nice.
Moments after Hanzal’s penalty expired came the play (and call) you’d probably be talking about tomorrow, if not for Teravainen. McGinn’s post-to-post bounce clearly did not cross the line completely, as the overhead cam duly recorded – but it was insanely close enough to get called as a goal on the ice, and it’s one of those plays that seems destined for a highlight reel, somewhere.
The Canes went on the power play again after Gemel Smith got called for hooking Brett Pesce, but lost the advantage less than 45 seconds later when Justin Williams did the same to Devin Shore.
Then came the moment in what seems like every game now when Radulov reminds you that he’d like to be Your New Favorite Star. He tied the game with a power-play shot from the dot that also extended his scoring streak to eight games, tied for the longest run in the league. The Stars also have the NHL’s No. 1 power play, and they wanted to give you a present from it. This one was perfect, thank you, coming as it did with great work from Devin Shore, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin to wrap it all up.
Was there a period after this? Ben Bishop held down the fort as the Canes put up 10 shots to the Stars’ six. The score stayed tied as time ran out. It all seemed so hopeful then.
Oh, special teams: First they giveth, then they taketh away. The Canes got the advantage after Stephen Johns registered an illegal check to the head of McGinn, which allowed Teravainen to score the evil mirror image of Radulov’s previous goal from the circle.
Within a few minutes, Teravainen had a natural hat trick, and the Canes had a three-goal lead. The Stars never came up with an answer to the Teravainen - Aho - Jordan Staal line, and it’s one of those moments when you wonder why Jason Spezza is playing left wing and whether Tyler Pitlick is really 100 percent, but it doesn’t even matter at this point, in this game. The Stars were already going half-speed when Jeff Skinner delivered the final insult with only three seconds left.
The Stars face the Florida Panthers tomorrow night in Sunrise. And if you’ll pardon me, I must go write Tuesday Links now. Happy Monday, or something.