Tracking the Storm: Analysis from Dallas
-- Offense: activate. The Carolina Hurricanes netted four second-period goals en route to a 6-4 win over the Dallas Stars to snapp a three-game losing skid. Jeff Skinner, Patrick Dwyer, Victor Rask, Jiri Tlusty and Eric Staal (2) tallied goals for the Canes, who erased a 2-0 first-period deficit and fended off a late push from the Stars to win their first game in Dallas since Feb. 11, 1996.
"We stuck with it," Staal said. "I like how we responded in the second and followed it up with a big win to start this trip."
-- All it took was one, and the floodgates opened.
Jeff Skinner streaked down the near-side boards and sniped one top-shelf on Kari Lehtonen’s glove side. It was a bullet and a beauty of a shot, Skinner’s fourth goal of the season. That brought the Hurricanes within one, and the goals just kept coming from there.
"He's a goal scorer. He just has offensive instincts, and pucks go in for those types of guys. That got us going," head coach Bill Peters said. "Away we went."
"That's what you've been looking for in the last couple of games. The puck was bobbling on me, and I tried to throw it on his pad, and it kind of knuckled over his glove," Skinner said. "It's a nice feeling to get that one, and Patty follows it up with a huge one."
Less than five minutes later, Patrick Dwyer broke into the zone with speed, went forehand, backhand and top shelf for his first point of the season. 90 seconds later, Victor Rask made it 3-2 Canes with a one-timer from the top of the far circle on the power play.
With about four minutes left to play in the period, Jiri Tlusty won a battle in front of the net to redirect a shot from Elias Lindholm past Lehtonen, whose night was over after surrendering four goals on 16 shots.
"It's about the process, right? We had 40-plus (shots) the other day and couldn't get any, and today you end up with six (goals)," Peters said. "You just have to stay with it, and you've got to believe in what you're doing. I thought Staalsy did a good job leading the way."
"It was frustrating with what happened the last game with the amount of attack we had, and we weren’t rewarded with anything. Tonight, you’re down 2-0 early. I like that we stuck with it and got on the board with a big goal from Skins," Staal said. "It was a good effort by the guys in the second and third to follow it up.”
"Tonight they were going in for us, which was nice," Skinner said.
The team’s four-goal output in the second period was their most potent 20 minutes of the season, and it came on the heels of being shut out in six straight periods. The last time the team scored four goals in one period was Jan. 25, 2014 in a 6-3 win over Ottawa.
-- Eric Staal made it a 5-2 game just nine seconds into the period, as he powered his way to the net and scored on his own rebound. His goal was the Canes’ fastest to start a period since Shane Willis scored nine seconds in on Nov. 12, 2000.
Staal added a much-needed insurance goal late in the third period to make it a 6-4 contest, taking a pass from Riley Nash and opening up Anders Lindback to slide the puck five-hole. Staal remains a point-per-game producer against Dallas in his career with 13 points (9g, 4a) in 11 games.
"He was good all night. He was good early and often," Peters said. "I really liked his game and his line. That's what your Captain does. He's been excellent for us coming back from injury."
-- Though the Canes led 5-2 early in the third period, they flirted with disaster for the next 15 minutes. Cody Eakin was credited with a shorthanded tally just two minutes after Staal’s goal, and from there, the Stars grabbed ahold of the momentum. Tyler Seguin netted his second goal of the game at the 12:55 mark to make it a 5-4 game, but that’s as close as Dallas would come – a little too close for comfort.
"They've got some skilled players and good talent. You start feeling it, the momentum," Staal said. "They made some plays on the attack, and we held the fort. Wardo was good and strong in there, and we did what we needed to do to get the W."
-- As great of a period as the second was, the Canes were in a 2-0 hole after 20 minutes thanks to goals from Jamie Benn, scored less than two minutes into the game, and Tyler Seguin, on a redirection of John Klingberg’s point shot – certainly not the ideal start.
"We knew the first period wasn't what we wanted and we had better," Skinner said. "I think we did a good job coming out in the second. I thought we generated some more chances."
-- Skating in his 700th career NHL game tonight, Jay McClement posted the lone assist, his third of the season, on Skinner’s second-period goal.
-- Staal said he was aware the Hurricanes had never won in Dallas and that it had been since 1996 that the franchise got a win there.
"I actually thought of that before the game tonight, to be honest," he said. "I know I've played here a lot, and we haven't had the right results, so it's nice to get that behind us."
-- Next up for the Hurricanes: the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night at Staples Center, the second game of a five-game road swing.
"We're going to be on the road here for a little bit, and we need contributions from everybody. I think we got that tonight," Peters said. "Our leaders have to lead, and they've done that. We've got a real strong room. When we were down two on the road after 20, the room was real good. Good composure."
"It's nice to start off this trip with a W, no question. We were looking for one, obviously, after the last couple of games," Staal said. "It's always nice when you're on the road to pick up points. Now we have a good test here in LA."