Tracking the Storm: Analysis
Coming off a 5-1 loss to the Washington Capitals at home on Friday night, the focus for the Hurricanes was fight and energy. They had neither in this afternoon’s game. “We were just soft on pucks all over the ice, and we lost every battle,” head coach Paul Maurice said. “I don’t have an explanation for it.” After defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 last week, the Canes seem to have lost their fire as a group. It’s only been two games, but in those two games, the Hurricanes have been outscored 10-3. “Teams go through stretches where things don’t go well, and sometimes it’s hard to find that confidence again,” defenseman Bryan Allen said. “But we’ve got to get back the basics, work hard and come together as a team.” Cam Ward was pulled after Dallas netted its fourth goal. Ward finished the day with 10 saves on 14 shots. Defenseman Tim Gleason said there’s “nothing worse” than seeing the starting goalie pulled after a lack of a defensive effort in front of him. “We got blown out last game, and at the end of the day, we can’t let our goalies bail us out every single game,” he said. “We’ve got to come and play for them every once in awhile. We’re getting away from our system a little bit. If we stick to the system, the system works.” Playing in his first game of the season, Derek Joslin recorded an assist and was minus-two. Maurice said the best defensemen today were Bryan Allen and Tim Gleason. For his part, Joslin said, “I was just trying to get my game back.” Zach Boychuk moved up in the line structure with Tuomo Ruutu and Alexei Ponikarovsky in the second period, as Anthony Stewart was re-slotted onto the fourth line, where Maurice noted he has seen success in the past. “Tlusty, Stewart and Ruutu were -2 after the first period. Could have been a lot worse,” Maurice said. The Stars’ first line of Loui Eriksson, Jamie Benn and Michael Ryder was on fire today, as they combined for 8 points. Ryder (1g, 2a) and Eriksson (0g, 3a) each had three points, and Benn added two goals. Benn is tied for the team-lead in points with 15, four of which are goals. The Canes didn’t have an answer for this trio today. The Canes will now embark on a two-game road trip to New Jersey and New York before coming back to Raleigh on Saturday to face the Pittsburgh Penguins. Maurice summed up what needs to happen on Tuesday against the Devils: “It wouldn’t matter who we played next,” he said. “The fight’s going to have to be there, or we aren’t going to beat anybody right now playing like that.”
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Recap (Associated Press)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson are developing quite a connection.
Benn scored twice, including a short-handed tally, and two of Eriksson's three assists came on his goals, leading the Dallas Stars to a 5-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in the clubs' only meeting of the season Sunday.
"I think we're just feeding off each other and have got good chemistry out there," said Benn, who has four goals this season while linemate Eriksson has seven assists. "I think on and off the ice we've got good chemistry and it really helps on the ice.
"Our team wanted to come out here and have a good road game and keep it simple, and I thing we did that in the first."
Dallas opened a four-game trip with its sixth victory in its last seven games against the Southeast Division.
Michael Ryder added a goal and an assist, and Erik Nystrom and Stephane Robidas had the other Dallas goals.
"We've got two real cerebral players (in Eriksson and Benn) and they just kind of feed off each other," Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. "They think the game so well, and I thing Loui's been underrated for years in the NHL. They're having a good streak right now."
"This is a physical man's game and we were trying to play on skill, and that's just not going to get it done for us," visibly irritated Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice said. "We were soft on pucks all over the ice, and lost every battle on pucks that got dumped in.
"There is no excuse. (But) we've played 13 games prior to this and haven't had a dog start to any of them, so it wasn't something that is a growing concern."
Nystrom gave the Stars the lead on a rush at 5:20 of the first, beating Ward high and glove side from the left circle on Vernon Fiddler's assist from the high slot.
Robidas made it 2-0 on the power play at 12:55, scoring through traffic from the high slot.
LaRose came back with a power-play goal for Carolina at 13:18, backhanding the puck past Lehtonten stick side on Jeff Skinner's helper.
But Benn made it 3-1 at 19:32, receiving Eriksson's backhanded pass from behind the goal on the doorstep and slamming it past Ward stick side.
"We played really well today," Eriksson said. "We played really hard and got the two points. It's a good start to the road trip. We took too many penalties today (10), but I thought we did a good job and Kari was good for us again."
NOTES: Dallas has won five of the last six games in the series. ... Benn has points in five straight games. ... The contest ended a three-game homestand for Carolina, which still has seven home games and five away the rest of the month. ... Stars C Steve Ott (lower body) missed his second straight game. ... Hurricanes LW Jussi Jokinen (lower body) missed his second straight game.