RALEIGH, N.C. – The Dallas Stars outworked the Carolina Hurricanes and claimed a well-deserved 5-3 win at PNC Arena on Thursday.
“They were quicker than us tonight,” Carolina head coach Bill Peters said.
“I think everyone needed to be better, just in general. Through 50 minutes they were quicker than us and we didn’t execute when we did have the puck.”
Victor Rask led Carolina (25-33-8) with a goal and two assists, while Chris Terry (1 goal, 1 assist) and Andrej Nestrasil rounded out the scoring for the Hurricanes.
Goaltender Anton Khudobin made 27 saves in the losing effort.
Dallas (31-27-10) got production from five different players as Curtis McKenzie, Alex Goligoski, Jason Demers, Cody Eakin and Patrick Eaves all contributed goals.
Netminder Kari Lehtonen made 15 saves to claim the win, number 242 in his career to date, playing in his 500th career game.
With the win, the Stars split the season series with Carolina after suffering a 6-4 loss to the Hurricanes in Dallas on Nov. 18.
Following a six-game losing streak, the Stars posted their fourth win in their last five games, while Carolina has now dropped four of its last five.
Both goalies were tested early as Lehtonen stopped a long snap shot from Nestrasil while Khudobin was sharp on a one-timer from Brett Ritchie.
Rask scored his 10th goal of the season to put Carolina ahead 1-0 at the 4:06 mark of the opening period.
Following a faceoff in the corner to Lehtonen’s right, Bellemore’s point shot made it through traffic, but the keeper made the blocker save.
As the puck deflected in the air, Rask was at the top of the crease to backhand it into the net.
It didn’t take McKenzie long before he redirected a pass from Shawn Horcoff at the edge of Khudobin’s crease to tie the score 1-1.
Soon after, Goligoski snapped a shot past Khudobin from the top of the slot on a pass from Eakin that gave Dallas its first lead with 9:22 to play in the period.
A point shot from Demers six minutes later extended the Stars lead to 3-1 as Khudobin reacted late on the shot while Colton Sceviour wrestled with Justin Faulk for position in front of him.
The Stars outshot the Hurricanes 14-4 in the period .
Lehtonen continued to stymie the Carolina offense as he made a tremendous right pad save on Alex Semin’s backhand attempt five minutes into the second.
Eric Staal tipped the puck up to the Dallas blue line where Semin picked it up and went in all alone on the Stars keeper.
Though Cody Eakin tried to get his stick on him, the Russian forward went forehand to backhand, but couldn’t get it high enough to beat the Finnish netminder.
At the other end, Khudobin stopped a Jamie Benn snap shot that was placed high on his left shoulder.
Dallas still led 3-1 with 12:19 to play in the second period.
A few minutes later the Carolina keeper stopped all three of Dallas’ top scorers in succession.
Khudobin made back-to-back stops on Benn and Tyler Seguin on a 2-on-1 shot and rebound sequence which he followed up a minute later with a pad save on Jason Spezza.
Lehtonen remained equal to the task and turned away a dangerous shot from Patrick Dwyer off the right wing.
Carolina struggled at even strength and on the power play, finishing 0-for-2 on the night with the man-advantage.
Carolina had its best scoring opportunity of the period with three minutes remaining.
Jeff Skinner’s pass over to Elias Lindholm left the young Swede wide open to pull the Hurricanes to within one.
However, another pad save from Lehtonen denied the opportunity and helped Dallas to continue to carry its two-goal lead into the third period.
The Stars dominated the final period and kept puck possession in the Carolina zone for a majority of it.
Even while Carolina broke the puck out intermittently, it couldn’t penetrate the Dallas zone effectively, turning the puck over due to Dallas’ relentless backchecking.
“We never executed,” Peters said.
“It’s hard to come through the neutral zone with any tempo, any speed when it’s in your feet or it’s on the wall, or you don’t even get to the red line.”
Eakin extended the Dallas advantage to three goals, tipping Goligoski’s point shot in with 8:23 remaining.
The Hurricanes didn’t get a shot on net during the period until Nestrasil and Terry scored back-to-back goals 48 seconds apart to pull within one.
With 2:46 to play, it looked like Eric Staal would tie it, but Benn was in position to bump him out of the way after he fanned on the shot.
With Khudobin out of the net for the extra skater, Carolina’s attempt to tie the game ended when Eaves got his stick on the puck.
In an attempt to ice it, the puck instead ended up in the net after traveling the length of the ice.
“I don’t think we deserved to win to be honest, “Nestrasil said.
“Five minutes is not enough. We gotta’ dig deep (for) 60, and we didn’t do it. The better team won tonight.”
With his career game-high performance, Rask extended his current point streak to three games (2 goals, 4 assists) and became the first Hurricanes rookie to score 10 or more goals in a season since Skinner had 31 goals in 2010-11.
“We were really close,” Rask said.
“I think we had a good chance to get a 4-4 goal, but we didn’t score.”