The Carolina Hurricanes had an opportunity to wrap up a six-game, 12-day road trip with a winning record on Saturday night against the Dallas Stars, and they had a key player back in the lineup.
Martin Necas made his return to the Canes’ top-nine, and he made his presence known en route to a big shootout win.
Losers of three straight games, Stars came out with a bee in their bonnet in the first period. They outpaced the Hurricanes throughout the opening frame, and they eventually forced the Canes to the penalty kill in the second half of the period.
Alex Nedeljkovic came up huge for Carolina as Dallas mounted pressure, making a number of impressive athletic saves both at 5-on-5 and while short-handed.
The young goalie’s eagerness in the net actually led to a penalty for himself when he tripped Jason Dickinson just outside of the crease. Ned bailed both himself out, though during the ensuing Dallas power play and kept the game at 0-0 going into the first intermission.
The second period was pretty similar to the first period at 5-on-5 play, and the Stars scored the game’s first goal at 5:49 of the middle frame.
After winning a crowded board battle in the Canes zone, the Stars quickly pushed the puck below the circles and created a short 2-on-1 chance in tight. Jason Dickinson cashed in on his own rebound to beat Nedeljkovic and make it a 1-0 hockey game.
From there, the Stars out-shot the Hurricanes and were threatening to increase their lead, but the Canes didn’t break and eventually found a chance to go their way. Jake Gardiner walked in and made an excellent centering pass to the slot where Jordan Martinook was there to put a stick on the puck and redirect it through the legs of Jake Oetinger to tie the game at 1-1 with under three minutes to go in the second period.
Jordan Martinook— Canes Country (@CanesCountry) February 14, 2021
Jake Gardiner with a great feed to Jordan Martinook in the slot, and Martinook deflects home his first goal of the season to tie the game at 1-1 in Dallas. pic.twitter.com/Dyi9GdIqSr
The Hurricanes got a big bounce to go their way, and just moments after their tying goal, they got their first full power play of the game.
Two full minutes almost passed on the man advantage, but they used all of their time to eventually break the brief tie.
Martin Necas flew the wing and sent a laser-beam pass across the ice to Teuvo Teravainen for a beautiful goal at the very end of the power play to give the Hurricanes their first lead of the night.
Welcome back Martin Necas. Welcome to the goal category Teuvo Teravainen.— Canes Country (@CanesCountry) February 14, 2021
Necas with a gorgeous feed to Teravainen for a big power-play goal late in the second period to give the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead in Dallas. pic.twitter.com/GycLRReJSn
It only took 87 seconds of hockey in the third period before another penalty was called, and it was again called in favor of the Hurricanes, who promptly took advantage.
Andrei Svechnikov retrieved a loose puck behind the net after Vincent Trocheck fired a grade-a chance wide of the net, and then he centered a perfect pass to Jordan Staal in the slot. The captain came through yet again for Carolina to make it a two-goal game early in the third.
Jordan Staal Goal ✅— Canes Country (@CanesCountry) February 14, 2021
Jordan Staal Yell ✅
Andrei Svechnikov with a perfect centering feed to the captain, who continues his hot offensive play and gives the Hurricanes a 3-1 lead over the Stars in the third period. pic.twitter.com/Jgwin9Xf92
From there, it was all Dallas all the time.
In addition to outshooting the Canes 10-5 in the SOG column, the Stars pummelled the Hurricanes to the tune of a 24-12 corsi-advantage at 5-on-5 in the third period. In the process, Dallas mounted a comeback and pushed the game to overtime.
Young forward Jason Robertson opened the third-period scoring for Dallas with 11:38 on the clock. The Stars pushed for a quick strike after an offensive zone entry. Roope Hintz drove down the left wing before centering the puck to Robertson, who rifled a one-time snapper by Nedeljkovic to cut the Canes lead in half.
As time ticked away, it looked like the Hurricanes might escape with a regulation win, but a controversial penalty changed things.
Svechnikov dealt a big, clean-looking hit, but the refs disagreed and the Stars were gifted a late power play and a chance to tie the game.
Carolina successfully killed off the first section of the power play, Sebastian Aho had the game on his stick entering the Dallas zone on a 2-on-1. Instead of going for the net, though, he tried to send a behind-the-back pass to Teravainen. Miro Heiskanen broke up the pass, the puck went the other way, and Joe Pavelski flew a goal by Nedlejovic that the young goalie would absolutely want back.
A terrible sequence with a terrible result that pushed the game to extra time.
Five minutes of extra hockey went by with no winner decided, which meant another shootout for the Canes. That was bad news for a very long time for this team, but it’s a different time and a different story.
Nedeljkovic went three-for-three, setting the stage for Vincent Trocheck to play the role of hero and send the Hurricanes out of the Lone Star State very happy.
Vincent Trocheck calls game. pic.twitter.com/SkPQcaIjhA— Canes Country (@CanesCountry) February 14, 2021
The Hurricanes managed to escape Saturday night’s game with yet another win over the Stars to improve to 4-0 against them on the season and 9-3-0 overall.
Carolina will return home now for a slate of games against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers, Chicago Blackhawks, and Tampa Bay Lightning.