It was not the Canes’ night in Dallas Tuesday, as a Roope Hintz hat trick led the Stars past Carolina 4-1 in a game where the Hurricanes just didn’t get it going.
Carolina, playing down three starting defensemen who are in COVID protocols, didn’t ever look quite right, as Hintz scored 73 seconds into the game and the Stars never looked back. Hintz added another goal in the second period, with Joe Pavelski making it 3-0 in the third.
The Hurricanes finally got on the score sheet late in the third period, as Jesperi Kotkaniemi stayed hot with a goal in a net-mouth scramble to score for his third straight game. Hintz finished the hat trick almost immediately after that, though, scoring on an empty net.
The Canes really struggled on the power play, once again, going 0 for 2 in the first period with some pretty uneventful man advantages. Carolina got another late in the third, but once again came up empty.
The new defensemen, Jalen Chatfield and Maxime Lajoie, were fine, though some of the Canes’ mainstays on the blue line made some critical mistakes that led to goals. Frederik Andersen wasn’t tested much, as the Stars finished with just 17 shots, letting in three goals.
In Dallas’ net was Braden Holtby, a familiar foe for the Hurricanes who once again got the best of Carolina. He turned away 39 of 40 shots he faced, playing a solid game with nothing too spectacular for most of the night as the Canes struggled to give him too much that actually tested him. He did get a highlight reel moment on one of his last saves, as he made an incredible stop on Andrei Svechnikov in the final minute.
For the second game in a row the Stars got an early, early goal from Hintz, who collected a rebound and beat Andersen high with a great shot just 1:13 into the game.
Carolina’s reeling power play got an opportunity a bit later in the first period, with a chance to show off a new five-forward unit forced onto the ice by the missing blue liners. It went...well....horribly wrong. The Canes got absolutely nothing on the man advantage, with Dallas getting a handful of really high-danger shorthanded chances.
The Canes got another shot at the power play later in the first period, thanks to a bad high sticking call that looked to be more friendly fire. That power play went much better, though it still came up scoreless.
Most of the second period was played in transition, as the puck bounced around and neither team settled into a great offensive rhythm. The Canes killed off a power play, and both teams had a couple looks, but not too much going on, though Carolina was a bit better than in the first.
That changed with about five minutes to play in the second, as Hintz scored his second to make it a 2-0 Dallas lead. Brady Skjei made an aggressive play on the puck in the neutral zone and lost, leaving Chatfield alone to defend the duo of Pavelski and Hintz.
Pavelski patiently waited and passed across to Hintz under Chatfield’s stick, and Hintz wasn’t going to miss one-on-one with Andersen.
The Canes, as they did in the first period, responded pretty well to the Dallas goal, as Martin Necas and Seth Jarvis both had close looks in the following minutes. Holtby was up to the task, though, as neither shot from the Canes did enough to give him a real test.
Carolina came out in the third with a nice step, spending plenty of time in the Dallas zone but still not doing enough to really even challenge Holtby.
The Canes’ inability to take advantage of some of the action bit them midway through the third, as Dallas made it 3-0 thanks to Pavelski and a fortunate bounce. Jason Robertson fired a shot from the point after collecting it on the boards, and Pavelski got a piece of the puck before it went off the post and in.
Carolina got another power play down the stretch, and well, you know how this one goes. With their third empty power play of the night, the Canes extended their goalless power play streak to 0 for their last 18.
The Canes did finally break through for a goal shortly after the failed power play, as Kotkaniemi stuck with things and battled a puck through Holtby. There was an extended scramble in front of Holtby that the Canes grinded through, and it eventually found its way to Kotkaniemi.
Any life the Canes had was short lived, as Hintz completed his hat trick on the empty net a few moments later.
The Hurricanes will return home for a pair of games, against Ottawa and Buffalo, to open up December.