Stars Blow into Carolina as Road Trip Continues

So far, so good on this tour of the Metropolitan Division. A win against the Hurricanes could make (or break) this trip.

The Dallas Stars pulled out a 2-1 victory against the Washington Capitals on Thursday night, temporarily delaying Alex Ovechkin’s march through the NHL scoring record book. Say “Thank you” to Jake Oettinger, because the rest of the team certainly didn’t earn the W.

With the exception of the beginning of the third period, where the Stars flipped a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead, Dallas was outplayed to a degree that hasn’t happened all that often this season.

The best forward line in the NHL was outplayed - Washington kept them buried in the defensive zone. The Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn lines got caved in. The fourth line held their own - but needing goals out of that group isn’t a sustainably winning formula.

Inexplicably, a line of Seguin paired with Radek Faksa and Denis Gurianov proved the best combination. What kind of magical sorting hat did Pete DeBoer pull that trio out of?

Dallas Stars Lineup

Jason Robertson (21) – Roope Hintz (24) – Joe Pavelski (16)
Mason Marchment (27) – Tyler Seguin (91) – Ty Dellandrea (10)
Jamie Benn (14) – Wyatt Johnston (53) – Denis Gurianov (34)
Joel Kiviranta (25) – Luke Glendening (11) - Radek Faksa (12)

Miro Heiskanen (4) – Nils Lundkvist (5)
Ryan Suter (20) – Colin Miller (6)
Esa Lindell (23) – Jani Hakanpää (2)

Jake Oettinger (29)
Scott Wedgewood (41)

The Stars lines have stayed pretty constant over the year, but recently the coaching staff has been mixing things up, especially mid-game. With the next game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, expect any Joel Hanley or Riley Tufte additions to happen in that game, not against Carolina.

Carolina Hurricanes Lineup

Andrei Svechnikov (37) - Paul Stastny (26) - Martin Necas (88)
Teuvo Teräväinen (86) - Jesperi Kotkanieni (82) - Seth Jarvis (24)
Jordan Martinook (48) - Jordan Staal (11) - Jesper Fast (71)
Stefan Noesen (23) - Jack Drury (18) - Derek Stepan (21)

Jaccob Slavin (74) - Brent Burns (8)
Brady Skjei (76) - Brett Pesce (22)
Calvin De Haan (44) - Jalen Chatfield (5)

Pyotr Kochetkov (52)
Antti Raanta (32)

Sebastian Aho has been out with a minor lower body injury, and the Hurricanes aren’t rushing him back. He is listed as day-to-day, so this could change by game time.

Kochetkov has been putting up outstanding numbers in net after taking over when Frederik Andersen went out. The netminder was instrumental in setting up the Chicago Wolves Calder Cup run last year, and he recently signed a four year, $8 million dollar contract extension. Anderson and Raanta are only signed through the end of the year, so Kochetkov is likely Carolina’s goaltender for the future.

The Hurricanes ride their top three lines and top two defensive pairings.

Keys to the Game

Possession. The Hurricanes offense is built around volume shooting and offensive zone possession. When the Stars are off their game, these are the areas where they struggle the most. Dallas needs to avoid turnovers when the retrieve the puck and not just pass on their problems when put under pressure.

Goaltending. Both netminders are young and on a roll. Oettinger can’t afford a letdown after his playoff level effort against Washington.

Top Lines. The Robertson, Hintz and Pavelski line has been quiet as of late. The rest of the team has stepped up, but this game could be the one where the best trio in hockey needs to go off.