HURRICANES (5-12-5) at STARS (10-6-6)
Carolina 3-5-2; Dallas 4-4-2
First of two meetings this season, with Dallas paying a visit to Carolina in mid-December. In the only meeting last season, the Stars used a three-goal second period to prevail 3-2 at American Airlines Center. Marty Turco stopped 29 shots for the victory.
Confidence had been fragile with the Hurricanes – even after they finally snapped their 14-game losing streak and won two of their next three, they both came in shootouts that just as easily could have gone the other way. But now Carolina has a legit, 60-minute win it can feel good about, 3-1 over Tampa Bay on Saturday. Now the 'Canes will try to pick up two points for the first time this season away from the RBC Center – at 0-7-3, they’re the only NHL team without a road win.
If there was a poster boy for Carolina's frustrations this season, Chad LaRose
would be the perfect candidate. After scoring a career-high 19 goals last season and adding 11 points during the Hurricanes' run to the Eastern Conference Finals, LaRose went the first 21 games this season without finding the back of the net. The drought finally ended against the Lightning when LaRose scored a key insurance goal late in the third period.
"I've been getting chances and just trying to put my foot on the gas pedal and work hard," LaRose said. "I was hoping one was going to bang in off me. It is frustrating when you’re losing and you feel it's kind of a burden on your chest."
Home hasn't always been the happiest place this season for Dallas, which carried a mediocre 3-3-3 record into Saturday's game against one of the top road teams in the League in New Jersey. But after blowing a 3-1 lead, the Stars got Tom Wandell
's go-ahead goal in the third followed by defenseman Stephane Robidas
' second of the night for a 5-3 win over the Devils. They've split the first two of a four-game homestand.
"We did the things we had to do to be successful against these guys," coach Marc Crawford said. "Protecting the puck, not turning it over, making sure we're solid going into the offensive zone, getting pucks, trying to create rebounds and really winning the battles after the initial shot."
Who's Hot: Tuomo Ruutu
followed up a four-assist effort in the Hurricanes' shootout win over the Maple Leafs with a goal against the Lightning. Jussi Jokinen
has a four-game points streak with a goal in three of those games.
Robidas, not usually known for his scoring, had a career game against the Devils. In addition to his two goals, he also had the primary assist on two others for a four-point night.
"For us the most important thing was the win," Robidas said. "Everybody's pretty happy about that. I never put big numbers up, I just try to focus playing defensively and physically, so when I can contribute offensively to help, it's really nice."
"(Stephane's) a warrior," said teammate Brad Richards, who finished with four assists. "He does the things game in and game out that only teammates see. And in the end, that's all that really matters. We know he's there every night and he's going to produce."
Carolina is without both goalies who started the season, Cam Ward
(laceration to leg) and Michael Leighton (groin), star forward Eric Staal
(upper body) and forward Scott Walker (upper body). Staal is back at practice and hoping to return this week.
Forward Brian Sutherby is nursing a groin injury for Dallas.
The Hurricanes' power play has come to life, going 6-for-26 after snapping an 0-for-26 drought.
James Neal, the leading goal scorer on Dallas, will sit out the second and final game of the suspension he received for a hit on Columbus forward Derek Dorsett that drew a five-minute major and game misconduct. Robidas and Richards were among the Stars to step up in his absence on Saturday, and they'll need similar production from other sources against Carolina.