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Recap: Mrazek, Canes Shut Out Stars

Mrazek makes 33 saves in 3-0 win

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

Petr Mrazek stopped all 33 shots he saw, as the Carolina Hurricanes shut out the Dallas Stars, 3-0.

Justin Williams, Brock McGinn and Micheal Ferland scored goals for the Hurricanes, who have won six of their last seven games.

Here are five takeaways from tonight's game.

One

Good teams find ways to win. Period.

The Hurricanes have done just that on back-to-back nights.

"It was kind of a similar game to last tonight. I think tonight was the first time all year that I felt like the guys looked tired. You could feel it. Emotionally they were tired, and physically our feet were just not moving," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "At the end of the day, we battled. That's the most important thing."

Two

The constant in the Canes' two wins this weekend was goaltending. On Friday, Curtis McElhinney turned away 40 of 41 shots in the team's 3-1 win over the Oilers. Tonight, it was Petr Mrazek making 33 saves on 33 shots in his third shutout of the season.

"It's fun when we can compete like that and battle and be friends off the ice," Mrazek said of his relationship with the 35-year-old veteran.

Video: DAL@CAR: Mrazek stops all 33 shots he faces in win

You knew Mrazek - a scrappy, fiery competitor compared to McElhinney's calming demeanor - was feeling it when, late in the first period, he made a series of saves that culminated with a left pad stop on Brett Ritchie in the slot, followed by a sprawling rebound save on Andrew Cogliano.

Mrazek popped to his feet and pumped his fist while the crowd roared.

Video: DAL@CAR: Mrazek makes brilliant back-to-back stops

"He was amazing. He kept us in there the whole game," McGinn said. "We really feed off that. It gives our team a lot of energy."

"Our goalie was huge again tonight. That's been the different in the last couple of games," Brind'Amour said. "They've been giving us a chance when we're not at our best. That was the case tonight."

Three

Just as they did on Friday night against Edmonton, the Hurricanes again grabbed an early lead against the Stars with two goals in the span of 3:22.

As Dallas was sloppy in transition in one end of the ice, the Canes turned the puck the other way with Sebastian Aho and Williams racing down the ice on a 2-on-1. Aho bided his time at the top of the left circle before threading a pass through Esa Lindell to Williams, who scored on a blocker-side wrist shot.

Video: DAL@CAR: Aho connects with Williams for opening goal

Just a few minutes later, Alexander Radulov attempted a backhanded clear from the nearside boards, but he didn't get under the puck enough. Justin Faulk was able to control the bouncer at the blue line and smack it into the slot, where McGinn accepted the pass and scored on a backhander to put the Canes up, 2-0.

Video: DAL@CAR: McGinn backhands puck by Khudobin

"We've just really been focusing on coming out and getting a good start," McGinn said. "When we go out there and get that first goal, it really builds confidence for this group."

"We made some nice plays when we had to," Brind'Amour said.

Four

The Canes made another nice play when they had to late in regulation - another parallel to Friday night's game - when they got their first and only power play of the game.

From behind the net, Andrei Svechnikov fed Ferland in the slot for his 16th goal of the season. Game. Set. Match.

Video: DAL@CAR: Ferland pads lead with PPG

"It's not about the percentages. People get fascinated by that. It's when you need [power-play goals]," Brind'Amour said. "We needed that one to settle things down and put the game away. They came up big."

Five

The energy inside PNC Arena was palpable. From the Mrazek appreciation and the chants of "Petr! Petr!" to the sing-alongs to the wave to the standing ovation and deafening roar in the game's final minute, it was another raucous night inside a building known to get raucous.

"The fans were great today. They always push us to be better," Mrazek said. "The energy in the building was great."

The Canes' patented Storm Surge victory celebration was the cherry on top of the night, as the players participated in a friendly game of limbo at center ice.

Video: DAL@CAR: Hurricanes do the limbo to celebrate win

"Never did that before, to be honest. First time," Mrazek smiled. "It was fun."

And, yes, the win moved the Hurricanes over that elusive playoff line … for now. That very well may not be the case tomorrow. But it doesn't matter then. It doesn't matter now. It matters after game 82, when the Canes hope to have that "x" beside their name in the standings.

"Everybody's got their eye on that," McGinn said. "We want to be in the playoffs. Every period and every game is so crucial for us right now."

"I think earlier in the year we were in the playoffs. At what point does it matter? It matters by the end of the year. That's when it matters," Brind'Amour said. "We've got a long way to go, and we're certainly not going to be satisfied because we're in now. It counts in about a month-and-a-half."

Up Next

The Hurricanes host the New York Rangers on Tuesday to wrap up this three-game homestand.

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