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game recap

Stars damage Hurricanes' playoff hopes

Carolina's 13-game point streak ends with loss to Dallas

by Kurt Dusterberg / NHL.com Correspondent

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes fell six points behind in the race for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference, losing 3-0 to the Dallas Stars at PNC Arena on Saturday.

It ended Carolina's 13-game point streak (9-0-4).

"It wasn't easy to take," Hurricanes center Jordan Staal said. "We've played some great hockey and given ourselves a chance. We had a few chances tonight that didn't go in. It's been a fun ride."

 

WATCH: All Stars vs. Hurricanes highlights

 

Cam Ward made 21 saves for the Hurricanes (35-28-14).

"I thought everything was a grind, everything seemed hard, a split-second late or in the feet," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. "I don't think we executed as well as we have recently, but a lot of that was due to the fact they were above us and had good puck pressure."

Jason Spezza scored in the second period, and Kari Lehtonen made 25 saves for the Stars (32-35-11), who have been eliminated from playoff contention.

"We've talked about playing the right way," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "There's no point in playing sloppy hockey. We knew how hungry they were. The only thing we can do is be spoilers and take some pride in how we play."

Lehtonen had to make several difficult saves, including a close-range stop against Teuvo Teravainen early in the third period, but the Stars defense limited traffic in front of net and second chances.

Video: Preds, Stars, Flyers earn Pepsi Zero Sugar shutout

"They were tight on us and it seemed like it was tough for us to penetrate," Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner said. "We had a couple good looks inside in quality areas, but they did a decent job eliminating those. Just couldn't get the one to build off."

John Klingberg scored an empty-net goal with 1:57 remaining, and Devin Shore made it 3-0 with an empty-net goal 32 seconds later.

 

Goal of the game

Jason Spezza's 13th of the season gave the Stars a 1-0 lead at 4:46 of the second period. Remi Elie's pass from the defensive zone sent Spezza on a 2-on-1, and he beat Ward over the glove to the far post.

Video: DAL@CAR: Spezza picks the corner with pretty wrister

 

Save of the game

Lukas Wallmark forced a turnover and shot from the slot, but Lehtonen turned it away at 10:56 of the first period.

Video: DAL@CAR: Lehtonen turns away Wallmark in close

 

Highlight of the game

With less than a minute remaining in the second period, Ward stopped Esa Lindell's snap shot, then wiped away a rebound before Brett Ritchie could poke it in at the left post.

 

Unsung performance of the game

Elie was sure-handed with the puck, and his indirect pass to Spezza off the boards set up the first goal. He was plus-2.

 

They said it

"[Lehtonen] had some good saves, a couple in the first and second period. We've given up a lot of goals. When the guys in front of him limit the opportunities, Kari is the type of goaltender who can feed off of it." -- Stars coach Lindy Ruff

 

"It seemed like if you beat the first guy in the neutral zone, they had a second guy there. We weren't able to find a lot of rebounds. Whether it was them boxing out or us not getting there, it seemed like we weren't able to capitalize on those chances." -- Hurricanes forward Lee Stempniak

 

"We played a simple game, especially in our own zone. We kept their chances pretty low. That always helps. We got the goal there, then we hunkered down in the third. It was just a good effort from everybody." -- Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen

 

Need to know

The Stars were without Curtis McKenzie (eye) and Ales Hemsky (lower body), who were injured against the Bruins on Thursday. They recalled Gemel Smith and Justin Dowling from Texas of the American Hockey League. … Spezza has 40 points (19 goals, 21 assists) in 38 games against the Hurricanes. ... Ritchie's cross-checking penalty at 12:34 of the first period was the only penalty of the game.

 

What's next

Stars: At the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday (6 p.m. ET; FS-SW+, SUN, NHL.TV)

Hurricanes: At the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday (5 p.m. ET; NHLN, FS-CR, ROOT, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Lehtonen, Spezza lead Stars to halt Canes' streak

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