Stars Hold Off Canes, 3-2

The Carolina Hurricanes rallied in the third period, but they were not able to overtake the Dallas Stars as they lost their second game in a row last night, 3-2.  The team is certainly hoping history does not repeat itself because the last time they had a four game winning streak, they followed it with five straight losses.  Before they embarked on this most recent road trip, Carolina had won four in a row.

Much like the Chicago game the previous night, the Canes had a slow start, but finished the first period with a 1-0 lead.

Eric Staal and Rod Brind'Amour combined for a 2-on-1 break while shorthanded and the team captain took a perfect pass from Staal and buried his shot to give the Canes the lead.  The Stars outshot the Hurricanes 15-9 during the period, but Cam Ward was very sharp, once again. 

Just one minute into the second period, luck turned sour for Carolina as Tim Gleason redirected a puck into his own net.  About five minutes later, Steve Begin pushed Mike Ryan into Cam Ward and while the goalie was down and out, roofed the puck over both Carolina players to give the Stars the lead.  For some reason, the obvious goalie interference was overlooked by the men wearing the stripes. 

Coach Maurice has a protocol for not yelling at the refs from the Canes bench, but that was one case where the coaching staff should have been livid. 

Just a bit later, the Stars completed their scoring when newcomer Brendan Morrison tipped in a Mike Modano blast, making the score 3-1.  Morrison was recently acquired at the trade deadline and it was his first goal as a Star.  Once again, Dallas outshot Carolina during the period, (10-7), and the visitors looked a bit slow and tired.

But during the third period, the Canes came out with some fire and finally attacked the Dallas zone with some consistency.   Tuomo Ruutu hit the post with a blast and a Nic Wallin shot was tipped, but also hit the post.  It seemed like Carolina would see nothing but bad luck, but they earned another powerplay and Ray Whitney rifled in a blast to give the team some hope.  The Canes mounted some more pressure and created a few more opportunities, but  Marty Turco was up to the challenge and preserved the home team's first win after six straight home losses.

Next up for Carolina will be another matchup in Washington against the Caps on Saturday night.

Game Notes:

For the second night in a row, bad calls or no calls by the refs cost the Hurricanes dearly.  From closing one's hand on the puck, to goalie interference, apparently nothing is obvious enough for the zebras.  While the Canes were outplayed in both games and probably deserved to lose both, there is no excuse for the refs not to do their jobs.      

Tuomo Ruutu had a monster game for hits and led the team with eight.  One time he drew a penalty as Mark Fistric roughed him up in retaliation after he leveled a Star with a shoulder to shoulder connection near the blueline. 

Rod Brind'Amour had some jump in his step and was one of the better players on the ice.  He now has a four game goal scoring streak. 

The team misses Joni Pitkanen.  The much maligned player is vastly under-rated and leads the team with time on the ice for good reason.

While the Dallas goals were ugly and the Canes skillful, Dallas did outwork Carolina which is something that needs to be addressed if the team is to reverse this recent losing streak.

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