Hurricanes 5, Stars 3

With his team up two goals and an empty net in front of him,

Carolina’s Ray Whitney tried to get creative and force the puck to

Tuomo Ruutu for what would’ve been Ruutu’s third goal.

When Whitney squandered that chance and Dallas came down and

scored, Carolina goalie Cam Ward had some words of wisdom for

Whitney.

“I told him, ‘Next time you have an empty net, let’s get a

goal,”’ Ward said after the Hurricanes’ 5-3 victory over the

Dallas Stars on Wednesday night.

Whitney heeded Ward’s advice when he had a similar chance in the

waning seconds, feeding Ruutu for an empty-net goal that sealed

Carolina’s win and gave Ruutu his first career NHL hat trick.

“It’s been a while,” Ruutu said. “Obviously, it’s not an

everyday thing. At the same time, we played a good team game. I

hope it’s going to keep happening.”

Eric Staal had a goal and two assists, and Jussi Jokinen had a

goal and an assist for the NHL-worst Hurricanes, who won for only

the eighth time this season. Ward made 24 saves for his first win

since Oct. 9.

Loui Eriksson, Steve Ott and Brenden Morrow scored for Dallas,

which tried to rally from a three-goal first-period deficit. While

the Stars have earned points in five of their last six games, they

only have two wins in their last seven.

Marty Turco made 24 saves for Dallas.

“We have no consistency,” Morrow said. “We’d love to get a

little streak going here. We still have six or seven games in

December to turn it around.”

The Hurricanes scored 4:48 into the game when Jokinen – who used

to play for the Stars – took a crisp pass from Bryan Rodney and

skated past Dallas defenseman Stephane Robidas for a breakaway.

Jokinen snapped the puck past Turco’s glove for a power-play

goal.

Carolina added to its lead less than 2 minutes later when Ruutu

put a backhander through Turco’s legs.

The Hurricanes then took a 3-0 advantage when Jokinen fed Staal

with a perfect pass from the corner. Staal was wide open in front

of the net and had little trouble one-timing the puck past Turco

for another power-play goal.

The Stars got on the scoreboard late in the first period when

Morrow and Ott combined on a pretty passing play. After Morrow got

the puck on the goal line to Ward’s left, he spun around and

backhanded the puck to Ott, who chipped it into the net.

Dallas continued its rally in the second when Morrow scored on

the power play. Mike Riberio had plenty of space in the middle of

the ice and snapped a shot at Ward. Jere Lehtinen tipped the puck

off Ward, and the rebound came to Morrow, who tapped it into the

net.

Ruutu gave the Hurricanes an insurance goal 4:47 into the third

when he lofted a puck into the crease while rushing along the

boards. The puck hit off the skate of Eriksson and past Turco.

Eriksson scored on a rebound with 1:04 remaining for Dallas.

The Hurricanes have scored more than three goals in only seven

games this season. They entered the night with the fewest goals in

the NHL.

“I’m very pleased with the way we played,” Carolina coach Paul

Maurice said. “We’ve played well over our last six or seven

games.”

NOTES: Carolina was without three of its regular defensemen. Tim

Gleason missed the game after taking a puck off the face against

Washington on Friday. Niclas Wallin is day-to-day with an

upper-body injury while Joe Corvo is out for 2-3 months with after

being cut on his leg with a skate. … Dallas defenseman Trevor

Daley (upper-body injury) didn’t return to the game after taking a

hard hit late in the first period.