DALLAS - The Carolina Hurricanes remained unblemished in three games against the Dallas Stars this season after a 5-3 victory on Thursday night.
Nino Niederreiter's sixth goal of the season was the game-winner, while James Reimer turned aside 34 shots in his sixth win of the season.
HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTO GALLERY | STATISTICS
The game-winning goal began with a glance up the ice from Dougie Hamilton and a stretch pass that sprung a breakaway for Niederreiter. In alone, Niederreiter showed forehand and faked backhand, getting Anton Khudobin to bite, before sliding back to his forehand for the goal.
Video: CAR@DAL: Niederreiter scores go-ahead breakaway goal
"My whole momentum was going to my backhand, so as soon as I went there, I felt like, OK, it's time to move back to my forehand," Niederreiter said. "You try to make him bite and make a quick move at the end and hopefully it works out."
That goal was the actual difference, but credit Reimer for a strong performance in net and the team for once again finding a way to snag two points while not playing their best. That's what good teams do.
"Not our best. We gave up way too much," Jordan Staal said. "They played well. Reims just played great and made some big, big saves to keep us in that game. We found a way to get two points."
Staal Giveth and Scoreth
Staal continues to dish out beauties.
On a power play with less than five minutes to play in the first, the puck wound up on Staal's stick after Vincent Trocheck poked it free from the Stars. Staal dropped a no-look pass to Sebastian Aho, who roofed his third goal of the season and first on the power play.
Video: CAR@DAL: Aho buries Staal's no-look set-up for PPG
Not only does Staal dish out beauties, but he also finishes them. Just 30 seconds after Mark Pysyk netted his first goal with the Stars to tie the game at one in the second period, Andrei Svechnikov backhanded a no-look feed to Staal, who scored his third of the season as he was falling to the ice.
Video: CAR@DAL: Staal taps Svechnikov's slick set-up home
"I'm getting some good bounces," Staal shrugged. "I felt good coming into this season. I thought I had a strong offseason. It's nice to pop a few in early and get the confidence going."
"He's getting his due. He's always made good plays and had scoring opportunities. I think he's feeling it right now," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "You're seeing it right now in the plays he's making."
Four in a Row
Brock McGinn has goals in four straight games, and his game-tying goal late in the second period was maybe his biggest in that stretch.
McGinn's goal, scored with just 26.4 seconds left in the second, salvaged what wasn't a great period for the visiting team. The scoring sequence began with forecheck pressure from Trocheck down low, forcing Esa Lindell to cough the puck up the boards, where Brett Pesce fired off a shot from the point. McGinn was in the right spot to smack in the rebound and tie the game at three.
Video: CAR@DAL: McGinn fires Pesce rebound in near the slot
"That was definitely the most important goal of the night," Niederreiter said.
Surviving the Second
Though they scored two goals and took a tie score to the locker room after two periods, the middle stanza wasn't one of the Canes' best. They were in the box and on their heels for much of the period and were loose in their own defensive zone.
"It wasn't pretty. I thought we came out really well, but the penalties just sucked the game right away from us," Brind'Amour said. "Then we kind of battled back and capitalized. We made some nice high-end plays to get some goals and buckled down. It was a gritty win."
Roope Hintz scored twice to tie the game, though one was disallowed due to an offside zone entry, a Canes' coach's challenge that was properly reviewed and overturned.
Just 21 seconds later, Hintz scored again, this time in legal fashion, to tie the game at two. Then, on a 5-on-3 power play, Joe Pavelski slid a one-timer through Reimer to give the Stars their first lead of the game.
At one point, the Canes were being outshot 16-6 in the period. They were disorganized and had trouble moving the puck up the ice, forcing them to defend more than attack, but Reimer was solid, and the Canes turned it around late in the period, a push punctuated by McGinn's goal.
"We were flirting with disaster, and that's not how we want to play," Staal said. "It's never going to be perfect every night. Good teams find ways to win. We did grind a bit and we found ways to create some offense. Some timely goals, and we found a way to get two points. It wasn't pretty, and we could be better in a lot of situations."
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ of the Night
In the first minute of the third period, the puck was jammed up along the near boards for nearly 40 seconds of game time before the officials finally blew the whistle and ended the suffering.
11: Niederreiter is tied for the team lead in goals with six in his first 11 games. It took him 45 games to score six goals in the 2019-20 season.
4: McGinn has goals in four straight games, the longest such streak of his career.
3,687: This marked the first game since March 10, 2020, that the Canes played in front of any significant number of fans with an announced attendance of 3,687 at American Airlines Center. It was kind of weird! But also somewhat normal. No artificial crowd noise was used, so there was a natural hum in the building, and there's nothing quite like the authentic ohs and ahs (and boos!) that only real-time reactions from real humans can provide.
Quote of the Night
"Great teams find ways to win, even if you don't have your best. I'm glad we're pulling two points out of these games, and it's more encouraging that we have that much better and that much more to give. When we put it all together, we're a serious threat." - Brett Pesce
The Canes and Stars will face off again on Saturday night.