Tracking the Storm: Analysis
-- The Carolina Hurricanes made a late push, but they couldn’t overcome a three-goal deficit in a 5-3 loss to the Dallas Stars.
"They were quicker than us tonight," head coach Bill Peters said. "Tonight we weren't as good. They were better than us."
-- Behind 4-1 in the third period and generating little in the offensive zone, the Hurricanes suddenly found life when Chris Terry banked a rebound off Andrej Nestrasil in the slot to make it a 4-2 game.
48 seconds later, Brett Bellemore's point shot, tipped by Chris Terry, dribbled over the goal line to bring the Hurricanes within a goal. That would be as close as the Canes would come, as Dallas added an empty-net tally late to seal the win.
"I think everyone needed to be better, just in general," Peters said. "Through 50 minutes, they were quicker than us, and we didn’t execute when we had the puck."
"I don’t think we deserved to win, to be honest with you. Five minutes is not enough," Nestrasil said. "We need to dig deep for 60, and we didn’t do it. The better team won tonight."
-- Victor Rask got the Hurricanes on the board first as he tapped in a rebound on the doorstep for his 10th goal of the season. That momentum was quickly stalled, though, as the Dallas Stars netted three consecutive goals before the period ended.
Curtis McKenzie tied the game at one as he punched the puck in far side. Then, Alex Goligoski scored from the slot, and Jason Demers’ seeing-eye point shot made it a 3-1 Dallas lead. Cody Eakin tipped in an Goligoski’s point shot in the third period to make it 4-1.
"We’ve given up, I think, 20 (goals) in our last five (games). That’s four goals a night, on average. This time of year, typically what happens is that it gets harder to score, not easier. If you think you’re going to get enough to outscore your mistakes, you’re probably wrong," Peters said. "We’ve got to tighten up."
-- The Hurricanes scored on their third shot on goal of the game, four minutes and six seconds into the contest. The team registered 15 shots in the 55:54 that followed, including seven shots in the second period and eight in the third.
"I think we’ve got to put more pucks on net," Rask said. “We weren’t able to execute. We need more pucks on net.”
"We never executed. It’s hard to come through the neutral zone with any tempo or any speed when it’s in your feet, it’s on the wall or you don’t even get to the red line," Peters said. "We didn’t execute with the puck."
-- Victor Rask's line, with Chris Terry and Andrej Nestrasil flanking him, provided the offensive spark for the Canes tonight. Rask posted a three-point night (1g, 2a), while Terry and Nestrasil each had a goal and an assist.
"He’s a great player. He’s not afraid to go to the net," Rask said of Nestrasil. "It’s good to have him on our line. If you put pucks on the net, good things happen."
"We just tried to keep it simple. We tried to put a lot of pucks on the net," Nestrasil said. "All three of the goals we scored were rebounds, so we just try to do the little details right."
-- A five-game homestand comes to a close on Saturday when the Hurricanes host an old Southeast Division rival, the Florida Panthers. The game marks the first of a back-to-back set that will then take the Canes to Columbus on Sunday evening.
"We just need to execute the plays. We have to believe in ourselves," Rask said. "We know we can make plays, and we have to keep working."
"You’ve got to throw it behind," Nestrasil said. "The game is over right now. I’m not really happy about it, but there’s another game on Saturday and a lot of games coming up. It’s not worth it to think about it because it’s going to get in your head."