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Recap: Canes Can't Catch Stars

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

Analysis from Dallas

→ In a city where the Carolina Hurricanes franchise has won just two games since the 1993-94 season, the Canes were again unable to come up two points in their final game before the bye week. Carolina fell 5-2 to the Dallas Stars after a trio of early mistakes buried the team early. Sebastian Aho and Justin Faulk tallied for the Canes, while Patrick Eaves' two goals spurred the Stars.

"Just needed to be better all-around tonight," Faulk said. "No excuses for it. No reason for it. It just can't happen. We've got to be better as a group."

Video: CAR Recap: Offense stalls as Canes lose to Stars, 5-2

→ Three costly mistakes burned the Hurricanes in the first six minutes of today's game, and all of a sudden, the Canes were faced with the task of digging out of a three-goal hole.

Just 51 seconds in, Esa Lindell poked the puck off Jaccob Slavin's pinching stick and raced off on a 2-on-1 odd-man rush. Lindell held onto it, shot and scored. Five minutes later, Patrick Eaves poked in a centering pass from Cody Eakin, and 22 seconds after that, Curtis McKenzie's shot on an odd-man rush bounced in off defenseman Matt Tennyson.

"You don't go on the road, give up those types of goals that easily and then come back [to win]," head coach Bill Peters said.

The Hurricanes settled in a bit after that, but Dallas had already grabbed an early lead at home that wasn't going to be easy to erase.

"It's tough when you're chasing the whole time," Faulk said.

→ Twice the Hurricanes pulled within two goals, but that's as close as they came to climbing back in this one. Aho scored his 17th goal of the season in the second period to make it a 3-1 game. Aho left the puck with Elias Lindholm below the goal line before sliding into the slot and one-timing another perfect pass from Lindholm.

"We have played pretty well," Aho said of his line. "They just find me, and I just try to shoot and score."

"Just play the game and try to get the first one, see if we can get them back on their heels a little bit," Faulk said. "We did have a couple chances and were able to make some plays as the game went on, but we just weren't able to get the second one before they got on the board again."

In the third period, Faulk scooped up a loose puck after Kari Lehtonen fumbled Lindholm's initial shot to tally on the power play.

"I thought the whistle was coming, and I'm sure they did too. The puck just dropped," Faulk said. "You get a good bounce every now and then."

Eaves and Adam Cracknell answered each respective Canes goal to extend the Stars lead back to three goals.

"We weren't good enough long enough," Peters said. "We didn't have enough guys going. I thought the Staal line was very good here tonight. They were engaged in what they were trying to get accomplished. The other three lines were not as good as we needed them to be."

Jordan Staal threw hands with Jamie Oleksiak after the Stars' defenseman leveled Aho in the slot. Aho was one of the Canes' best players today, as he tallied a career- and team-high eight shots on goal.

"That line was good. Lindy had a lot of good looks in the first. Aho ended up with good looks," Peters said. "It was just the whole line was good. They competed at a very high level, the level you have to compete at to be successful."

→ The Hurricanes will now rest until they return to the ice on Friday, Feb. 17 to face the Colorado Avalanche, the first tilt in a five-game homestand.

"We need to get some rest and get our minds off hockey," Aho said. "We need to get some wins from those home games. Every point is so important right now."

"We have an opportunity now to win games, get points and hunt teams down for a playoff spot," Faulk said.

"You have to make sure you look after yourself during the bye week. You get one practice, and then you're playing against a team that's in the rhythm of playing, so you've got your work cut out for you," Peters said. "We're going to lose ground because we're off for a week, and it's going to look like a daunting task as you look at the paper. You've got to just dig in, find a way and play well coming down the stretch."

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