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Recap: Staal shines in Canes’ drubbing of Stars

The Carolina Hurricanes finished up a road trip with a 5-1 win in Dallas Tuesday night, as Jordan Staal, Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov all put up three-point nights.

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Led by a two-goal night from captain Jordan Staal, the Carolina Hurricanes kept pace atop the Central Division Tuesday night with a 5-1 win on the road over the Dallas Stars.

The Canes jumped ahead to a 3-0 lead early in the second period and they never let that slip away, as Staal’s two power-play tallies were joined early by a goal from Sebastian Aho, who had a three-point night. Staal and Andrei Svechnikov also had three-point games, with Staal adding an assist and Svechnikov assisting all three of the early goals.

Max McCormick and Nino Niederreiter added insurance goals in the third period, with McCormick scoring his second in as many games after spending most of the season on the taxi squad. For Dallas, Jason Robertson had the lone goal in the second period.

Alex Nedeljkovic was great once again between the pipes for Carolina, stopping 27 of 28 shots faced. Anton Khudobin took the loss in Dallas’ net, saving 24 shots. Special teams were also particularly strong for Carolina, as the Canes went 2 for 3 on the power play and squashed out three Dallas penalty kills.

While the Canes grabbed the win Tuesday they didn’t get any help in separating themselves from the other competitors in the Central Division, as both Florida and Tampa Bay picked up wins of their own Tuesday. With the three wins, Carolina maintained a two-point lead over Florida and three-point lead over Tampa (with two games in hand on Florida).

The Canes jumped on the Stars early, netting two goals within 1:01 just inside the midway point of the first period. The game opener came from Staal, his 15th of the season, on the power play following a high-sticking on John Klingberg.

Svechnikov wristed a puck towards the net that deflected off Aho, falling perfectly to Staal positioned in the center. The captain didn’t let the chance slip away, as he ripped the rebound past Khudobin to make it 2-0.

The lead doubled shortly after as Aho got a goal of his own, netting a really heavy rebound produced by Brett Pesce into the back of the net. It was a heads-up play from Aho, who came off the bench and immediately made an impact to skate unimpeded into the offensive zone to gather the rebound.

The Hurricanes started the second period with 1:23 of power play time, and Staal picked up his second rebound goal on the man advantage of the game. Carolina came out in the second controlling the power play, and the time in the Dallas zone paid off.

An Aho shot from the point missed high, but took a Carolina-friendly bounce off the glass back into the danger zone near the crease. Staal, once again positioned right in the middle of the action, found the puck and put it in the net to put the Canes up 3-0.

Dallas got on the scoresheet later in the second, as Robertson scored from a loose puck after an initial save by Nedeljkovic. Teuvo Teravainen, playing in his first game since March 4, lost the puck in the neutral zone, and the Canes defensemen couldn’t get the puck cleared, leading to the Robertson goal.

The Stars controlled much of the remainder of the second period, tilting the ice a bit from the opening 25 minutes or so. The Canes did have a great look late in the period, though Khudobin used a great effort to keep it out of net.

Carolina came out great in the third period and it paid off a little over five minutes in, as the Canes’ fourth line produced a goal to make it 4-1 after an all-around terrific night for the unit. Steven Lorentz fed Morgan Geekie behind the net, who made a great centering pass to McCormick. McCormick brought the puck to his backhand to score his second goal in as many nights.

The Hurricanes made that three-goal lead a four-goal lead later on in the third, as Niederreiter scored his 18th of the season. Staal laced a centering pass across to Niederreiter, who slotted it home.

With Tuesday’s win over the Stars, the Canes finished their eight-game regular season series with Dallas with an impressive 6-1-1 mark. Now Carolina will head back home for a five-game homestand, its final homestand of the season.