That probably wasn’t how the Carolina Hurricanes saw that going.
With a sizable crowd and plenty to play for, the Canes should have been itching to get on the ice on Saturday night. Instead, they looked lost and saw their playoff hopes all but disappear completely at PNC Arena.
The first period lacked any real excitement, minus a couple scoring chances each way. There were more icing whistles than shots for at least the first 10 minutes, and both teams seemed to be fighting to get passes through.
Teuvo Teravainen and Jeff Skinner both found themselves with the puck on separate odd-man rushes, but failed to get shots out of either play. Such was the way it went for the Canes.
Both teams began creating a bit more offense in the second period, with Carolina generating the majority of chances, but Dallas found the net first.
Jason Spezza scored just under five minutes into the period with a wrist shot from the wing that beat Cam Ward over the glove. If you saw Jack Johnson’s tally for the Blue Jackets on Thursday night, just picture Spezza in his place—the two goals were mirror images.
The Hurricanes failed to muster a response, though they managed a few more chances than they did in the first frame. Still, the second period ended with a 1-0 Dallas lead.
Third period action was hardly any kinder to the Canes. They had clean looks at the net, but the shots were lacking, either going high/wide or becoming ill-fated passes.
Spezza nearly doubled the Stars’ lead when he found himself on a breakaway almost halfway through the period, but Cam Ward withstood the test.
Sebastian Aho almost leveled the score later in the frame, but a rebound bounced over his stick and away from the yawning cage.
The Stars would pile on to Carolina’s disappointment in the form of two empty-net goals, but the insurance wasn’t necessary as the Canes failed to score in the most important game of the year.
Kari Lehtonen earned the shutout with 25 saves, while Cam Ward stopped 21 shots of his own.
Carolina does get a quick chance to regroup, however, as a date with the Pittsburgh Penguins looms at 5 p.m. tomorrow.
Rank the Performances
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