RALEIGH, N.C. – For the second game in as many nights, the Carolina Hurricanes were led by spectacular goalkeeping.
Following a 40-save performance by Curtis McElhinney the previous night, Carolina got a 33-save finish from Petr Mrazek in a 3-0 shutout win over the Dallas Stars on Saturday.
Justin Williams, Brock McGinn, and Micheal Ferland all tallied single goals, beating Dallas netminder Anton Khudobin in the first and third periods on 27 total shots he faced.
The win put the Hurricanes into position to occupy the second wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
Not dominating, just opportunistic
At first glance, it looked as though Carolina dominated the Stars, but quite the opposite was true.
Without exceptional goalkeeping, the 33-27 margin Dallas held in shots on goal may have translated into a different result.
“It was kind of a similar game to last night,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said.
“Tonight was the first time all year where I felt like the guys looked tired, and you could feel it. Emotionally they were tired, and then physically our feet were just not movin’. It kind of looked like it did for two periods, and then in the third period we kind of got some semblance of a game. They battled hard and obviously our goalie was huge tonight. That’s been the case the ast couple of games.”
Scoring early and finishing the job
The line of Justin Williams, Sebastian Aho, and Nino Niederreiter ignited the offensive fuse as Williams finished off a three-way passing play among the three.
The winger’s wrist shot beat Stars netminder Anton Khudobin at the 5:09 mark of the opening period.
McGinn followed that up just over three minutes later with his seventh goal of the season on a pass from defenseman Justin Faulk.
Carolina carried the 2-0 lead into the third and Ferland’s 16th goal of the season with 3:52 remaining in the game capped it off for Mrazek, who along with his teammates, was feeling pretty good.
He had just posted his second shutout in his last three starts, having beaten the New York Rangers 3-0 back on Feb. 8th.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Mrazek said.
“It’s the time of the year when with not that many games left, you want to put yourself in that position to make the playoffs and be there. The last two games, the energy in the building was great.”
Peter Koutroumpis: 401-323-8960, @pksport