RALEIGH, N.C. -- Last season, the Dallas Stars had a difficult time closing out games in the third period. So far this season, that hasn't been the case.
Patrick Sharp and Radek Faksa scored a little more than two minutes apart in the third period to break open a tie game, helping the Stars to a 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on Friday.
"We've been a lot better in the third periods this year than we were last year," Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said. "Some of it is patience, some of it is timely scoring."
The Stars came out strong, led by Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, but they could not push anything past Hurricanes goaltender Eddie Lack.
"We started really well. We should have scored a couple but their goalie was really on early," said Kari Lehtonen, who made 30 saves for Dallas. "It evened up and they got some chances, but we never panicked. We just kept playing."
The Hurricanes (5-8-0) opened the scoring at 3:41 of the second period on Jordan Staal's second of the season. After Ron Hainsey shot wide, Eric Staal gathered the puck off the end boards and fed to his brother in front of the net for a re-direct.
Dallas (11-3-0) tied the game on a goal from Ales Hemsky at 9:46. He fed the puck to Colton Sceviour, who slipped the puck through Lack and off the post, but the long rebound came to Hemsky, who scored from below the left faceoff circle. Vernon Fiddler added the second assist.
The goal was reviewed on a coach's challenge when Sceviour tumbled over Lack after the goal and the call on the ice stood.
"I thought I did all I could to get out of the way after making my move, so I thought it was good," Sceviour said. "It's a little nerve-wracking (waiting for the review), especially on a goal like that that ties it up in a period where we're not playing our best hockey."
Ruff agreed that the Stars were not playing their best through two periods.
"We had a missed assignment on the [Hurricanes] goal when we didn't get in there quick enough, but I thought we got right back to it," Ruff said. "We got a little bit away from our game in the second. We had a little bit of east-west and some turnovers. But I thought the third period was a real good period."
Dallas scored the go-ahead goal at 11:15 of the third after a Carolina miscue. Hainsey bobbled a puck above the faceoff circle, leading to a 2-on-1 for Dallas. Seguin dished the puck across the slot, where Sharp connected for his fifth of the season.
Radek Faksa then scored his first NHL goal at 13:20, cleaning up Sceviour's shot attempt at the top of the crease. Faksa, selected 13th in the 2012 NHL Draft, was playing in his 10th NHL game.
"Finally, it's a great feeling," the Czech center said. "It was 10 games. I've had chances pretty much every game. I just tried to focus on the game and be patient."
Sceviour was trying to get the puck on net.
"I wish I could say I tried to pass it to him, but I was trying to shoot it as quick as I could, and their guy got a stick on my stick," Sceviour said. "He's had some good looks, so it was good to see him get his first."
Jason Demers scored into the empty net at 19:59 to finish the scoring.
The Hurricanes were coming off a four-day break, which they used to work on the 26th-ranked power play. Oddly, they were held without a power-play opportunity, the fourth time in franchise history they have played a home game without the man-advantage.
"It's a rarity that you don't get a power play, it happens," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said.
Jordan Staal, who scored for the second straight game, expressed frustration over taking a tie game deep into the third period.
"We still found a way to beat ourselves," Staal said. "We've got to find that killer instinct to finish games. We gave them one too many chances. They're obviously a team that can score goals."
Peters agreed that the game was within Carolina's reach.
"The third was even until that point when we gave up two in a row there," he said.
For the Stars, earning a win in the third period reinforces a growing trend, something that was missing until recently.
"Last year we squandered a couple early on and that sits in the back of your head," Sceviour said. "This year we've done the opposite and it sits in your head in a good way. You know you can do it again and so you go out there with the confidence."