Ever since Dallas-area businessman Tom Dundon took over as owner of the Carolina Hurricanes, the team has requested that their opponents wear their white jerseys so that the Hurricanes can wear their red home jerseys. Most teams have accommodated the request, just like the Dallas Stars did today.
They probably wish they hadn’t done that, though, as it feels like the white jerseys of the Stars are cursed.
Dallas has had a lot of issues with winning away from the American Airlines Center this season. Their 11-16-3 record is, points-wise, the worst in the entire Western Conference (bested, barely, by the Los Angeles Kings at 11-16-4. The Kings are last in the West, by the way.)
Today, it looked like they were playing on the road. A complete inability to get anything going offensively and their breakdowns were capitalized on by the Hurricanes. They were blanked, once again, by the Hurricanes, their third such outing in the past week. The power play continued not to deliver for the team (they had two shots on goal total in their first three power play chances.)
Give all the credit in the world to Carolina in this regard: they had a forecheck that absolutely stifled Dallas’ ability to get into the offensive zone, and Dallas struggled to adapt to it.
Carolina looked the better team to start the period, and it didn’t take them long to open scoring. Just over three minutes into the game, Lucas Wallmark got a step behind the defense of the team and wristed one through Ben Bishop, who made his first start in nearly two weeks aafter being out with an upper-body injury. Dallas did seem to get better as the first 20 minutes ticked off. That is about the only time they looked decent today, though.
Usually the best period of the Stars’ game at home, the middle frame proved to be anything but today.
Blake Comeau took a penalty almost immediately, and that resulted in a little more than 30 seconds of 5-on-3 power play time for Carolina. That was because Brett Ritchie committed an infraction with less than a minute in the first period to play. Jordan Staal, who also returned to action tonight after an injury, made short work of the advantage to put the Canes lead at two goals – making that lead insurmountable and far out of reach of the Stars of today.
The majority of the period the Stars spent just trying to even make a clean zone entry. Every time they crossed into the neutral zone, there were fumbled passes or turnovers. If they got through neutral, there was almost always several Hurricanes waiting to tie up the puck mover and turn the play up ice. If they found the offensive zone, there were passes straight to opponent sticks or passes that were so telegraphed and foreseeable that the Hurricanes could pick many of them off with ease.
There was a glimmer of hope in that period, though. With a little more than a minute to play, Radek Faksa appeared to cut the lead in half off a rebound chance from a Comeau shot on goal. The goal was immediately waived off, though, because Comeau ran straight into the goaltender after letting his shot loose. Instead of cutting the lead down, the Stars actually ended the period on another penalty kill as Comeau was given a goaltender interference minor.
There wasn’t much to write home about in the third period. Dallas seemed to lack energy for the most part throughout the lineup, they weren’t able to adjust to the heavy forecheck the Hurricanes used to beat them last game any better this game, and the power play continues to not come through when they really need a goal to get something going.
Dallas allowed an empty net goal with Bishop on the bench for the extra attacker at the end of the game, and the Hurricanes get matching 3-0 shutout wins over the Stars. It’s clear that this style of play by Carolina completely paralyzes the Stars. As games get tighter down the stretch, they’re going to have to find ways to play through it and generate points on days like this.