A fast and furious first period saw the Dallas Stars shoot 50 percent with four goals on eight shots. The Carolina Hurricanes out skated the Stars in the first period and had steady pressure, but couldn't penetrate the Stars' goalie Kari Lehtonen. Carolina stormed back and tied the game at five in the third period, but Patrick Sharp's late game heroics helped Dallas claim the win and two important points in the standings.
Stars Dominate First Period
Captain Jamie Benn picked up three points on a goal and two assists in the first period. Lehtonen, who was riding a seven game win streak, was flawless with several big stops in the opening period. Kari stopped ten shots, including two point blank opportunities from Kris Versteeg. The Hurricanes winger could do nothing but look at the rafters.
John Klingberg and Tyler Seguin set up Patrick Eaves for a one timer off of the rush to open the scoring, blowing the puck past a helpless Cam Ward. Twenty-six seconds later, Jamie Benn snapped his three game pointless streak after crossing in the slot with Valeri Nichushkin. Benn ripped a wrist shot past Ward to the far post for his 19th goal of the season.
Just over seven and a half minutes after Benn’s tally, the Stars power play cashed in on their first and only opportunity in the period. The power play goal would come off of a Tyler Seguin one timer after Dallas went zero for 11 on their latest road trip on the power play. Carolina had an early chance on the man advantage, but came up empty handed even though they ended up outshooting the Stars ten to eight in the first period.
Ward Pulled After Opening Period Woes
Goalie Eddie Lack came out to replace Cam Ward for Carolina to start the second after a shaky performance by the starter. Jaccob Slavin scored the first goal of his NHL career after tapping in a rebound off of a Riley Nash wrist shot just over three minutes into the second. Valeri Nichushkin restored Dallas’ four goal lead off a wrist shot that glanced off of Lack's shoulder for his fourth of the year with only seconds remaining in the period.
'Canes Level The Score, Sharp Seals Dallas Win Late
The Hurricanes would score four unanswered goals in the third period. Two power play goals from Justin Faulk were sandwiched by Phillip Di Giuseppe’s first NHL goal. Faulk’s first power play goal of the game, his 10th of the season, saw him surpass Anton Babchuk for most by a Carolina Hurricane/Hartford Whalers defenseman in a single season.
The Hurricanes tied it when Jeff Skinner shot the puck past Lehtonen on the short side from the left circle with 6:43 remaining. That was the goal that had Lehtonen replaced after a dominating two periods. Antti Niemi would replace him. Niemi was able to collect the win even though he never made a save.
The winning goal came for Dallas on the power play with 1:34 left in the game. Patrick Sharp, coming late off the bench, caught a one-touch pass from Klingberg and ripped a shot past Lack with 18.5 seconds remaining to defeat Carolina. Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin ended up with four points each. Each collected a goal and three assists. John Klingberg tallied three assists and Valeri Nichushkin got a goal and two assists for the Dallas Stars (21-5-2) who improve to 12-2-2 record on home ice.
The Carolina Hurricanes, who were starting a twelve game road trip, fell to 10-14-4 with the loss. Carolina outshot Dallas 30-20 and both teams went two for three on the power play. Carolina battles Anaheim on Friday night. The Stars head into a back to back this weekend, hosting the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday and visiting the St. Louis Blues on Saturday.