The Dallas Stars faces the Carolina Hurricanes after a pair of painful overtime losses at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks. The pair of home losses had already extended the Stars’ winless streak to three, making the team a lackluster 1-2-3 since their electric 4-0-0 start to the season.
The Stars were still dealing with key injuries as Alexander Radulov found himself on the shelf for the third straight tilt. However, the club added back defenseman Andrej Sekera as he returned from the COVID-19 protocol list. Anton Khudobin regained the crease after a two-game absence due to a healthy scratch and rookie goaltender Jake Oettinger’s strong streak of play.
A win against the Carolina Hurricanes would have been anything but easy as the Hurricanes sport an impressive 7-2-0 record. Two of the recent Hurricanes’ wins came against the Stars as they swept Dallas in a two-game home series two weeks ago. It was painfully obvious that the Stars struggled with the Hurricanes’ style of play in their trip to Carolina, which was made worse by spotty goaltending by Khudobin. The Stars hoped to find the win column tonight, but breaking through the Hurricanes proved a formidable challenge.
The start for the Stars was less than ideal as the Hurricanes dictated play in the first couple of shifts. The Stars struggled to move the puck past the red line, and their first trip into the Hurricanes’ zone came courtesy of an icing call. Overall, the Hurricanes had superior puck possession and defensive posture. The Stars’ best chance of the opening minutes came via a relatively harmless rush chance from Roope Hintz when his shot rang off the crossbar.
Fortunes did shift for the Stars, giving the team a breather from the Hurricanes’ pressure, when Miro Heiskanen drew a tripping penalty on Nino Neiderreiter. The first minute of the power play elapsed without a substantive chance towards the Carolina net, culminating in an icing call against the Stars. Overall, the Stars were unable to capitalize on their opening power-play bid, with the Hurricanes easily squashing the Stars’ attack.
The game devolved into a territorial match, both teams slogging along with not many dangerous chances to speak of. Dallas found themselves in some penalty trouble when Jamie Oleksiak took an interference penalty in front of the Dallas net. The first minute of the kill went Dallas’ way, and the Stars were able to move the puck down the ice and keep the Hurricanes from settling into their power-play motion. The Stars were gifted an early out from their penalty-killing duties when Morgan Geekie committed a hold on Mark Pysyk behind the Dallas net.
The game remained at 4-on-4 for all of 22 seconds when the Stars began their second power play. The second Dallas man-advantage was hampered by miscommunication and sloppy passing along the wall. The Hurricanes were able to successfully pressure the Stars along the wall, forcing bad decisions and panic with the puck. The Stars’ best chance came from Hintz, who made a fantastic move to the middle of the ice, but failed to register a shot on net.
Immediately after the Hurricanes’ successful kill, they drew a penalty of their own via a hooking call on Radek Faksa. Carolina went to work quickly, forcing a careless turnover in the center of the ice. Jordan Staal took the loose puck, make a nice pass to a wide-open Sebastian Aho, who promptly placed the puck over the shoulder of Khudobin.
Shots: Dallas 9, Carolina 13
Score: Dallas 0, Carolina 1
The Stars were gifted with some carryover power-play time from a late tripping call on Andrei Svechnikov. Unfortunately, the Stars were unable to create anything on the chance, falling to 0-3 on the evening.
After the unsuccessful power play, the Stars started to string together shifts that spent time in the Carolina end. Dallas registered four shots at even-strength in the first four minutes of the period. The flurry allowed Dallas to use their speed to fight for space behind the Caroline defense. Once behind the defense the Stars sent pucks and green jerseys toward the net in rapid succession.
The Stars’ continued pressure in the Carolina zone finally paid off when Mark Pysyk rammed in his own rebound off of James Riemer’s pad, tying the game at 1-1. It was a great rush off of the wall for the Stars’ defenseman. However, the Stars quickly surrendered the tie-breaking goal to Jordan Staal. The puck landed right on his tape, allowing him to throw the puck behind an outstretched Khudobin.
The Stars weathered a small storm from the Hurricanes following the goal, with the defense and Khudobin up to the task. The Stars appeared to battle back for their own game-tying goal from Roope Hintz; however, the Hurricanes challenged it. After video review it was ruled that the Stars were offside on the play, which resulted in no goal.
Undaunted, the Stars came right back up the ice and tied the game — for real that time. Denis Gurianov made a delightful rush up the ice before feeding a perfect back-door pass to Hintz in order to restore the tie. The tying goal came 24 seconds after the nullified goal from the Hurricanes’ challenge.
Following the goal, the Hurricanes took an interference penalty, which sent the Stars back to the power play for the fourth time in the game. The Stars made a slight change to their first power-play unit, swapping John Klingberg for Miro Heiskanen. With a little less than a minute elapsed on the power play, the Hurricanes took a bench minor for too many men, handing the Stars a two-man advantage for over a minute.
On the 5-on-3 chance, the Stars proceeded to hammer away at Riemer until Joe Pavelski one-timed a rocket five-hole on the Carolina goaltender. The goal is the eighth of the season for Pavelski, and was the go-ahead tally for the Stars to give them the 3-2 lead. Dallas had an additional minute on the advantage, but the second half did little for the Stars as the Hurricanes killed it off.
After nearly 10 minutes of back-and-forth action following the Stars’ goals, the Hurricanes earned an easy put-back goal by Brock McGinn. The goal was thanks to a terrible rebound by Khudobin, who kicked the puck right to the stick of McGinn.
Shots: Dallas 27, Carolina 23
Score: Dallas 3, Carolina 3
The period began with a bit of a strange sequence when the puck became lodged against the wall under a pile of victory green and white sweaters. The linesmen declined to blow the whistle, as the game took on the feeling of a rugby match for a few long seconds. Finally the whistle was blown, and normality was restored, albeit with the players slightly aggravated.
Dallas had the best chance early in the period when Blake Comeau had a point-blank chance at a down Riemer. However, Riemer made the save of the night (to that point), stonewalling the Stars’ forward and preserving the tie for the Hurricanes. The Hurricanes rewarded the stop from the goaltender when Dougie Hamilton exposed a lax Dallas defense with a stretch pass to Neiderreiter. The Carolina winger went in clean on a breakaway and faked a backhand, before depositing the puck behind a helpless Khudobin to give the Hurricanes the lead, 4-3.
Following the Carolina goal, the Stars struggled to find their footing for a large swath of the remaining first half of the frame. The Hurricanes’ zone exits were easy enough that one pass sufficed, and the Stars’ chances were limited to weak rush chances. The first extended amount of time in the zone came via the team’s fourth line; however, it was a rather harmless sequence.
As the period approached the critical final five minutes, the Stars found it hard to generate any high-quality chances in the Carolina zone. Sekera had the best look, but buried the shot into the logo of Riemer’s sweater. To make matters worse for the Stars, Carolina drew a holding penalty with four minutes left in regulation. The Stars’ penalty kill seemed to be holding on for dear life, as the Hurricanes snapped the puck around the Dallas penalty-killers. With no shortage of chances, Khudobin managed to stop what he had to stop. The Stars eventually killed the penalty, giving themselves a full two minutes to try to find the equalizer.
The Stars pulled Khudobin for the extra man, but the Hurricanes pressured the Stars attackers to easily clear. The Hurricanes worked their way to the Stars’ end of the ice, leaving Warren Foegele alone in front to pot the empty-net goal.
The Hurricanes decisively won their third consecutive tilt against the Stars, sending the Stars to their fourth straight loss. The Stars also blew their second straight game in which they held a lead. The loss drops the Stars to 5-3-3 on the season and 1-3-3 in their last seven since the 4-0-0 start.
Final Shots: Dallas 37, Carolina 32
Final Score: Dallas 3, Carolina 5
The Stars finish up the series against the Hurricanes on Saturday, February 13th, with puck drop at 7 p.m. CST.