Cary, NC — The Carolina Hurricanes had a rare 2 days between games in this crazy season and Coach Rod Brind’Amour used one day to tweak some issues and gave the Canes a day off for family time.
All proved to be the ticket as the Canes beat the Stanley Cup runner up, Dallas Stars, for the third time this season, this time ending 5-3, led by captain Jordan Staal.
Stars, Canes Show Similar Strategy
Staal continues to play some of his finest hockey as a Hurricane. Brind’Amour says he’s played this way for years but is now starting to have points rack up for all the hard work. Like Roddy, Jordo is a beast in the faceoff circle, winning 71% which is almost unheard of in today’s game.
The Stars play a very similar game to the Canes which is centered around speed. Like the Canes, the Stars have a few young players that are very talented and can create a play out of nothing. The biggest difference I could see last night was the Canes’ forechecking played a big part in the game.
The Stars are a physical team, doubling the Canes hits of 19 and dishing out a whopping 39. Captain Jamie Benn got credit for 3, though if hits after a whistle were included, he would have surpassed 10 hits.
Aho Scores Off Sweet Pass By Staal
The first period started with both teams looking like it was a basketball game with man-to-man coverage. A lot of that had to do with the constant movement in all 3 zones and the speed of both teams.
It did make it for a very entertaining game, but it had to also be frustrating for the teams as both had great opportunities, forcing James Reimer and former Canes Anton Khudobin to make key saves. The refs were keeping things even by doling out alternate penalties throughout the period.
Andrei Svechnikov’s aggressive play caused the two Stars’ penalties in the first. On the second powerplay, Jordo carried the puck over the Stars blue line and went right to the low slot.
Just as the Stars collapsed around Staal forcing a turnover, Vincent Trocheck reached to snare the puck then touched it back to Jordo. Svech, evading his man, went charging down on the left and in a great move, Jordo eyed Svech but made a slick backhand pass to Sebastian Aho. All alone on the right, Seabass snapped it in up high for the 1-0 lead at the 16-minute mark.
Staal and McGinn Fly For Goals
The second period was a period for fans and players, but not for coaches.
The Stars made adjustments for the tight forechecking by the Canes, mostly by increasing the number of hits, holding and hooking, the illegal ones and the ones behind the play, out of sight by the refs.
Early in the period, Mark Pysyk had the puck along the near half-boards, protecting it with his body. Jordan Martinook stretched his stick to poke check the puck but lost his balance allowing Pysyk a clear lane to the goal. Reims made the initial save but Pysyk knocked in the rebound. Almost a trademark for the Canes so far this season, they responded without delay.
After winning the ensuing faceoff, the Canes had the puck in the Stars’ zone. After a shot by Brett Pesce was blocked in front, Svech outmanned his opponent for the puck. He stickhandled left and right then made a pretty backhand pass in front of the blue crease. Jordo dove to swat the puck in, exactly 30 seconds after the Stars goal.
The Stars answered on their own with 2 goals in the next 6 minutes with the second on a powerplay to take the lead for the first time in the game. The Canes continued with pressure in all 3 zones and being relentless deep in the Stars’ end.
Pesce stopped a clearing attempt by the Stars just inside the blue line, settled the puck, faked left, went right then flung the rubber at the goal. Khudobin made the pad save but gritty Brock McGinn did his own Greg Louganis, stretching his body to bang in the rebound to tie the game with only 30 seconds left in the period.
Simply said: huge goal. Ginner also set a personal best of scoring goals in 4 straight games.
Niederreiter Nets Game Winner, Foegele Seals It
The Stars had a game-high 18 shots in the second, something Roddy more than likely addressed during the intermission.
The Stars started out with pressure in the third. After 2 shots, Reims directed the second to the sideboards. Dougie Hamilton got the puck and settled it on his stick as both teams were making partial line changes. Nino Niederreiter hopped over the boards onto the ice in the neutral zone. Hamilton had his head up, saw El Nino all alone, and made a 70’ pass right on El Nino’s tape for a breakaway.
Niederreiter turned on his jets went right to the goal, deked right, left then back to the right, sliding the puck in for the 4-3 Canes lead.
Both teams tightened up on defense the rest of the period with both goalies stopping everything going their way. Late in the game, Martinook made a slick move that caused Pysyk to hook him, resulting in the lone penalty of the period. It would have been great to score to seal the win but just having 2 minutes of the man advantage was still effective.
The Stars pulled Khudobin with about 90 seconds to go, allowing Roddy to put speed and defensive forwards on the ice. Warren Foegele caused the Stars to turnover the puck in the corner, allowing Foegs to pass over to Aho who was along the backboards. Fishy started up along the far boards then swung around, slinging the puck to the net.
The puck was going wide but Foegs was right on the pipe to catch the puck then slide it in to seal the win. The next game is Saturday night — Go Canes!