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Game Analysis: Offense Comes Alive In Dallas

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The Carolina Hurricanes scored four second-period goals to seize control in Dallas and top the Stars, 6-4, to win the first game of their five-game road trip.

The Hurricanes got goals up and down the lineup in their 6-4 win in Dallas.
The Hurricanes got goals up and down the lineup in their 6-4 win in Dallas.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Staal put the icing on the Hurricanes’ four-goal second period with two third-period goals of his own, pushing Carolina to a 6-4 win in Dallas.

Three Observations

1. The Stars have made a point of giving up leads this season (they've won just 42.9 percent of the games they've led after one period, and only half of the games when leading after two), so it wasn't a surprise to see the Hurricanes rally on them. But it was nice to see Carolina have their biggest period of the season by scoring four goals in the second period. Most encouraging was they did it several different ways: a snipe from natural goal scorer Jeff Skinner; a partial breakaway and finish by fourth-liner Patrick Dwyer; a power play tally from point man Victor Rask; and a typical in-front deflection by Jiri Tlusty. That the Hurricanes showed a couple different ways to score should boost confidence up and down the lineup.

2. Alexander Semin was a non-factor in his return from injury, finishing with three shot attempts and was not part of coach Bill Peters’ rotation of forwards down the stretch. He was one of only three forwards not to record a point on the night (Chris Terry and Zach Boychuk were the others), keeping him at five assists and no goals through 14 games played.

3. For all the praise Jay McClement, Riley Nash and Rask have received for their faceoff acumen this season, a quick look at the stats reveals that Staal is the team’s second-best player on the draw behind the always-good McClement. Staal has won 54.3 percent of his 245 faceoffs, ranking him 23rd in the league. Just a few years ago, Staal was among the worst faceoff men in the league, but he has improved tremendously in recent years. He is nearly at 60 percent on power play faceoffs (25 of 42) and has been equally good at home and on the road.

Number To Know

0 — Penalty minutes for Nash (18 games), Ron Hainsey (17), Boychuk (16) and John-Michael Liles (12). As a team, the Hurricanes average 8.3 penalty minutes per game, the fourth fewest in the NHL through Tuesday’s games.

Plus

Eric Staal — The captain scored twice in the third period to put the game away, plus assisted on Jiri Tlusty’s goal that chased Kari Lehtonen in the second period. Peters has been relying on his top player more, playing him 20-plus minutes each of the last two games (20:52 last night, 21:07 vs. San Jose). Other than the season opener against the Islanders, Staal hadn't played more than 20 minutes in a game except for two overtime contests.

Minus

Tim Gleason — Gleason was praised by Hurricanes TV play-by-play announcer Tripp Tracy for agreeing to fight Dallas’ Antoine Rousel after Carolina pushed the lead to 4-2 in the second period, citing "The Code" (without ever saying the actual words). But even thought the fight lasted only seconds — Gleason rag-dolled Roussel to the ice — it seemed to ignite the Stars from their second-period funk. There is still a time and place for fighting, but doing it just so you can maybe you can do it to try and ignite your team down the road isn't a wise choice.