On a night where several waves of storms moved through the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, the Dallas Stars found themselves in the eye of the storm in a 4-1 loss at the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina.
After a scoreless opening period, all appeared well for the Stars heading into the second, at least before Carolina lit the lamp three times in a span of 4:36 to break the game open and lead 3-0.
The Hurricanes’ first goal came in odd fashion when a shot by Justin Faulk deflected off the skate of teammate Eric Staal. And after floating through the air for seemingly an eternity, the puck ended up in the back of the Dallas net after going over the right shoulder of Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen.
"Obviously (they) got a break on the goal but you get breaks on goals," Stars head coach Lindy Ruff said. "You see strange ones go in. That might have been one of the stranger ones that went in against us, but what I didn’t like, I didn’t like the fact we weren’t able to kill off a couple penalties."
Veteran Stars defenseman Trevor Daley saw something from his teammates he clearly didn’t like after that rather fluky goal went in.
"I felt we didn’t react the right way when we got scored on," Daley said. "You get scored on, you want to go back and try to push the pace a little bit and get it back. I felt that we sat back too much."
The next two Carolina goals came on the power play, advantages set up by a pair of penalties by Dallas rookie defenseman Patrik Nemeth.
And it was the lackluster showing by the Stars’ penalty kill on those two opportunities that was especially disconcerting for Ruff.
"(We showed a) lack of aggression, we sat inside too much. We gave them room, gave them some time. You do that when you’re tired out there. I thought we did that when we were fresh," Ruff said. "I think the one shot, there was no chance (Lehtonen) could see it. The other one was pretty good one-timer from up top."
Stars top scorer Tyler Seguin pulled one back at about the midway point of the middle frame with a nice shot that went top shelf on a breakaway, but Seguin’s tally would be the lone blemish on an otherwise stellar night by Canes goaltender Anton Khudobin.
Lehtonen was replaced in net by Tim Thomas after the third Carolina goal, having stopped 13 of the 16 shots he faced.
The Canes added a fourth goal at 7:40 into the final period and it was pretty much church for Dallas.
Carolina was led offensively by John-Michael Liles, who finished with a goal and two assists.
Dallas next heads to the Sunshine State, where they will face the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday before finishing the road trip on Sunday at the Florida Panthers.
"Yeah, you got to park it. You can’t spend too much time on your wins, can’t spend too much time on your losses," Ruff said. "There’s some things we want to clean up. We’ll clean them up and get ready to play."