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Carolina Hurricanes vs. Dallas Stars: Game Preview and Discussion

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A night after the shorthanded Hurricanes emphatically dispatched the Stars, their reward is getting the chance to do so again.

Dallas Stars v Carolina Hurricanes Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images

Updates and quotes from Rod Brind’Amour’s afternoon availability:

  • Brind’Amour said Reimer will definitely start in net against the Stars tonight, but there’s no further update on Petr Mrazek. He got looked at today and will have an MRI tomorrow.
  • Brind’Amour also said that Max McCormick, who was also injured last night, is out and Drew Shore will likely play tonight.

On the Stars possibly getting Jamie Benn back and a more competitive game tonight: I anticipate that he’ll be out there. I thought it was pretty competitive, especially the start. Once we got a couple of those power-play goals the game went maybe a little different. But definitely at the start it was pretty intense. That’s the NHL, we would expect the same tonight.

On the team’s play in the first two games back from the pause: We played two of the best teams in the league and I thought went toe-to-toe with them. We obviously had a lot of guys missing. That was the impressive part for me, that those guys hung in there. And then our guys that are supposed to be difference makers were definitely that. Two games, obviously, small sample size, but I think we’ve done a great job so far.

On players on the COVID list returning: I’m hoping next game, but I don’t know. I can’t even tell you. Number one, they’ve got to get up to speed and their conditioning has to be at the right level, and then they’ve got to get cleared. There’s a whole bunch of things that go on. I don’t know. I focus on one day at a time right now because it just doesn’t pay to look down the road too far.


The schedule coming out of a COVID-imposed hiatus seemingly did the Carolina Hurricanes no favors: three games against the two teams that played for the Stanley Cup just a few months ago. With little practice time and a good bit of rust, the thinking went, this would be a rough few days, and in a season where every loss holds outsized importance in the playoff race, the Hurricanes could quickly find themselves looking up in the division standings.

And then the Hurricanes did what everyone expected: shut out the Lightning and waxed the floor with the Stars. Because of course they did.

Vital Statistics

Category Hurricanes Blue Jackets
Category Hurricanes Blue Jackets
Record 21-7-3 13-13-7
Goals/Game 3.23 2.54
Goals Against/Game 2.48 3.12
Shots/Game 31.52 28.70
Face Off Win % 54.4% 46.2%
Power Play % (Rank) 30.6% (1st) 14.8% (26th)
Penalty Kill % (Rank) 82.9% (9th) 74.0% (26th)
ES Corsi For % 53.04% 46.16%
ES PDO 100.96 99.42
PIM/Game 07:21 06:43

Goaltender #1

Category James Reimer Joonas Korpisalo
Category James Reimer Joonas Korpisalo
Record 12-4-1 8-10-5
Save % 0.909 .900
GAA 2.68 2.98

Goaltender #2

Category Alex Nedeljkovic Elvis Merzlikins
Category Alex Nedeljkovic Elvis Merzlikins
Record 7-2-2 5-3-2
Save % .930 .912
GAA 1.96 2.91

Game Notes

  • Overshadowed by the Hurricanes’ sterling performance last night was the fact that four players left the ice injured, in various degrees of discomfort. Brock McGinn (puck to the face) and Jake Bean (recipient of a headshot) returned to the game seemingly none the worse for wear, but the news wasn’t as good for two other players.
  • Petr Mrazek, possibly the Hurricanes’ best player in their first five games, left early after an inadvertent collision with Max McCormick. Rod Brind’Amour said last night that his injury wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but still that’s probably saying it will be weeks and not months instead of being back in a few days. James Reimer, who played 57 minutes last night, will get the call for all 60 tonight.
  • McCormick himself then suffered what looked like a shoulder injury on a Blake Comeau check late in the first period. Nothing good can ever come from shoulder injuries - ask Brett Pesce - and McCormick is likely to miss significant time.
  • The good news is that the Hurricanes’ COVID list dropped to one player yesterday when Jaccob Slavin was removed, leaving Jesper Fast as the only remaining player on the unavailable list. However, none of the players have practiced yet since exiting the protocol, so unless Rod Brind’Amour feels comfortable plugging in a forward with no practice (Teuvo Teravainen in limited minutes again?), the Hurricanes may be forced to play with 11 forwards.
  • One player who wouldn’t be coming out of the lineup even if everyone were available is Steven Lorentz. In his second NHL game, Lorentz earned his first career point assisting on Vincent Trocheck’s opener, and nearly scored himself on a shorthanded chance later in the game.
  • Back to the goaltending for a second: Mrazek and Reimer have combined to allow just six goals through the Hurricanes’ first five games. That’s the fewest in franchise history, and has resulted in a combined 1.20 GAA and .945 save percentage for the two this season.
  • The Stars got Roope Hintz back from a lower-body injury last night, and they may be able to add captain Jamie Benn back to the lineup today. Benn has been out since suffering an injury in the Stars’ first game of the season.

Projected Lineups

Hurricanes

Andrei Svechnikov - Sebastian Aho - Brock McGinn
Nino Niederreiter - Vincent Trocheck - Martin Necas
Steven Lorentz - Jordan Staal - Ryan Dzingel
Morgan Geekie - Sheldon Rempal - Drew Shore

Brady Skjei - Dougie Hamilton
Jake Gardiner - Brett Pesce
Haydn Fleury - Jake Bean
Joakim Ryan

James Reimer
Alex Nedeljkovic

Injuries and Scratches: Petr Mrazek (upper body), Max McCormick (upper body), Jesper Fast (COVID protocol), Jaccob Slavin (COVID recovery), Warren Foegele (COVID recovery), Jordan Martinook (COVID recovery), Teuvo Teravainen (COVID recovery)

Taxi squad: none

Stars

Jamie Benn - Roope Hintz - Denis Gurianov
Tanner Kero - Joe Pavelski - Alexander Radulov
Andrew Cogliano - Radek Faksa - Ty Dellandrea
Nick Caamano - Justin Dowling - Blake Comeau

Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Jamie Oleksiak - Miro Heiskanen
Andrej Sekera - Mark Pysyk

Jake Oettinger
Anton Khudobin

Injuries and Scratches: Joel L’Esperance (healthy), Jason Dickinson (healthy), Taylor Fedun (healthy), Joel Hanley (healthy), Tyler Seguin (non-roster hip), Ben Bishop (LTIR knee), Stephen Johns (LTIR post-concussion)

Taxi squad: Rhett Gardiner, Jason Robertson, Julius Honka, Landon Bow