The Carolina Hurricanes fell behind in the opening period once again and could never recover as they lost to the Dallas Stars on Monday night, 4-1 in front of a national television audience on Versus. It was the fourth game in six nights for both teams, although it was the second of a back-to-back for Carolina as they had played in Washington the night before.
The Canes are now 2-4-3 in their last nine games.
The Stars have won four in a row and won all of their games over the Thanksgiving holiday segment, three of which were on the road.
James Neal got the visitors started with a goal midway through the first period. Dallas cranked up the pressure in the second and jumped out to a 3-0 lead just four minutes and change into that stanza.
It looked like Carolina was down and out, but Eric Staal stole the puck near center ice, took it in alone, and beat goalie Kari Lehtonen top shelf to try to make a game of it. The team and the crowd got some life from the play, but they could not get anything consistent going in the Dallas zone even during the powerplay as they went 0-4 when they had the advantage.
Jamie Benn would add an insurance goal in the third period to seal the deal for the Stars.
The Canes will take a scheduled day off tomorrow and will be back to practice on Wednesday as they prepare for their next match against the Colorado Avs on Friday night.
Quick stats and thoughts:
- The team had a better night in the faceoff circle and won 49% of their draws. Ryan Carter won 6 of 9 for 67%. Tuomo Ruutu had another tough night as he won 2 of 8 for 25%.
- The Canes were out-shot 33-28, even though they were losing most of the contest. Patrick Dwyer had a team high 5 shots.
- Patrick Dwyer and Troy Bodie had 6 hits each, tied for team best. The team was given credit for a total of 35 hits.
- Team defense was back to being too loose in their own zone. Ian White had a team worse (-3) and probably had his worst night as a Cane.
- Joni Pitkanen had a team high 3 blocked shots and most ice time again with 24:44 of TOI.
- Paul Maurice as much as admitted that his team was out of gas and called the schedule "horseshit", but with a total of 21 back-to-back games, things don't get any easier. (see interview below)