The Dallas Stars headed east for the first road trip of the season, a back-to-back series against the Carolina Hurricanes. Both teams have faced disruptions early in the season due to COVID-19 outbreaks, and the Hurricanes are only one game removed from a nine-day early break in their schedule that still has them down five players.
The Stars have also faced some losses to their roster in the early going. Jamie Benn, Roope Hintz, and Blake Comeau were all game-time decisions tonight, with only Jamie Benn missing tonight’s game. This is Comeau’s first game since the Stanley Cup Final.
While the Hurricanes did go up 2-0 in the first period, the bigger story was the additions to the Hurricanes’ injury list. Very early in the game, Max McCormick was taking a sliding dive at defending an odd-man rush and as he got back to his feet in the net, ran his skate blade into Peter Mrazek’s arm above the pad. Mrazek immediately skated off the ice and went down the tunnel, putting James Reimer in net for the Hurricanes.
Vincent Trochek put the Hurricanes on the board first off a very good feed from Martin Necas from behind the net.
Necas chased the puck deep, completely walking around John Klingberg, and then passed the puck back between Klingberg and the net. This is the kind of goal that Anton Khudobin should also be able to handle, but Klingberg should never have put him in that position.
The Stars’ offensive woes were just beginning, but five minutes into the game the Stars had zero shots on goal and the Hurricanes had two, one of them a goal.
Klingberg then took an interference penalty on Jake Bean, which resulted in Trocheck’s second of the game.
This came on a lot of traffic in front of the net, Khudobin biting hard to one side and out of the crease, and the Stars simply being unable to clear the puck.
McCormick was boarded by newly returned Blake Comeau. No penalty was called, and no penalty should have been called, but Hurricanes coach Ron Brind’Amour seemed less than thrilled. McCormick also exited the ice and headed straight down the tunnel.
It was announced during the first intermission that both players would not be returning to the game.
The Stars went on the power play next on a cross-checking call against Sebastian Aho, but were not able to convert on the man-advantage. They ended the period on a second power play from a penalty to Andrei Svechnikov for cross-checking Andrew Cogliano, which Jamie Oleksiak took great offense to.
Shots: Dallas 6, Carolina 7
Score: Dallas 0, Carolina 2
The Stars began the second period on the leftover power play time from the Svechnikov penalty, but were unable to get any shots on goal. Their lack of shots on net continued for almost the next 14 minutes.
Ty Dellandrea gave the Hurricanes their next power play opportunity off a tripping call, but miraculously the Hurricanes didn’t score on that one. They did lose another player down the tunnel as Brock McGinn took a puck to the ear off his own player’s stick.
Dougie Hamilton took a puck to some portion of his body and limped off, but was back on the ice on the next shift, which became obvious when he was in the post-goal hug for Svechnikov’s power play goal.
This goal began as a turnover in the neutral zone, as Sebastian Aho basically walked all five players on the Stars roster and got the puck through the busyness in front of the net to a streaking Svechnikov.
The Hurricanes got their fourth chance on the power play after Radek Faksa was called for hooking. Late in the two minutes, Ryan Dzingel was fed a beautiful cross-ice pass from Necas that he was able to elevate over a diving Khudobin.
Zinger picked his spot and pic.twitter.com/DWxUEWI6Je— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) January 31, 2021
This goal drove Khodobin from the net for Jake Oettinger, but it’s important to note here that goaltender substitutions aren’t always about the goalie, and sometimes about how the team is playing in front of the goalie. Also important to note that the team’s defense wasn’t really terrible until that third goal, which is when the defensive play really began to fall apart for the Stars.
As previously mentioned, the Stars didn’t get a shot on goal until 13:55 in the second period, when the Stars were on the power play thanks to a slashing penalty on newly minuted Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal, of the Thunder Bay Staals. The shot on goal came from a wrister by John Klingberg. It was the only shot of the power play, but since the previous one had zero, it was still a marked improvement.
Jake Bean took a penalty for tripping against Radek Faksa, which is also when the Stars’ second shot of the period came. The penalty should really have been called against the stick, since that’s what Faksa ultimately tripped over.
Shots: Dallas 8, Carolina 20
Score: Dallas 0, Carolina 4
The Stars had some carry-over time on the power play, but were unable to do anything with it. Justin Dowling took a slashing penalty but the Hurricanes mercifully did not manage to score on Oettinger at all, and certainly not on this particular power play.
Fifth time was the charm for the Stars on the power play when Aho went off for slashing Oleksiak. Klingberg took a slapshot from the top of the zone and Joe Pavelski picked up the rebound.
The Hurricanes took a final penalty for high-sticking against Hintz, but even with that and an empty net, the Stars weren’t able to score again, and the lone goal for the game was still Pavelski’s.
Final Shots: Dallas 11, Carolina 26
Final Score: Dallas 1, Carolina 4
The Stars will be back against the Hurricanes tomorrow afternoon at 4 p.m. CST.