Hurricanes can't find their offense again, fall to Stars, 2-1

Chip Alexander, The News & Observer on

Published in Hockey

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Carolina Hurricanes’ past two games, against the Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars, had one thing in common: Sebastian Aho had the only Canes goal.

One was enough against the Panthers, but not the Stars.

Dallas finished off a season sweep of the Hurricanes on Saturday, taking a 2-1 victory at PNC Arena to end a four-game winless streak that had tested the patience of Stars coach Peter DeBoer.

Goalie Jake Oettinger had 21 saves in earning his 21st win of the season, allowing only the Aho goal in the second period and not facing a lot of high-danger shots.

DeBoer questioned his team’s compete level during the four-game stumble. He didn’t have to Saturday as the Stars won enough board fights and neutral-zone battles, and shut down shooting lanes defensively, to win the road game.

The Canes (34-18-5) were not as sharp and not nearly as emotionally invested as they were against the Panthers. There’s bad blood between the two teams and it showed again Thursday as Carolina won, 1-0, on Aho’s late goal and several players soon went at it when the game ended.

One of the Canes players was goalie Pyotr Kochetkov, who had a 44-save shutout and was named the first star against the Panthers. He jumped into the skirmish along the boards, later saying, “These guys no touch my guys.”

Kochetkov was back in net Saturday, giving up a goal to Jason Robertson in the first period and then Wyatt Johnston’s goal off the rush in the second for a 2-1 lead.

Johnston’s goal, on a shot that went through the legs of Canes defenseman Jaccob Slavin was on Kochetkov quickly and in the net at 8:15 of the period.


Aho’s goal, his 22nd of the season, tied the score 1-1 early in the second. Taking a pass from Jesper Fast out of the neutral zone, he skated through two Stars players down the slot and beat Oettinger high to the glove.

Kochetkov, after Johnston’s score, made a good stop on another Johnston shot in the second to keep it a 2-1 game heading into the third.

The Stars (35-16-8) began the third on a power play after defenseman Dmitry Orlov was called for an interference penalty with a half-second left in the second. The Canes killed it off, but Orlov then had another penalty for tripping in the third that put the penalty killers to work.

The Canes had a power play eight minutes into the third, with a chance to tie it, but did little with it. They pulled Kochetkov for an extra attacker but Oettinger made a scrambling save on a Martin Necas shot with 19 seconds remaining.

The Stars lost their last two games in regulation, to the Rangers and then the Ottawa Senators, both on the road. That had DeBoer sounding off.

Dallas, which beat the Canes 4-2 at home on Feb. 13, did it again 11 days later. A common thread: Robertson, always the sniper, scored in both games.

The Hurricanes finish off a back-to-back set with a road game Sunday at Buffalo. Goalie Spencer Martin is expected to be the starter for the Canes.

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