RALEIGH — The Dallas Stars scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period and held off a 43-shot Hurricanes onslaught to earn a 3-2 win Saturday at PNC Arena. Dougie Hamilton and Haydn Fleury scored for Carolina, and Alex Nedeljkovic made 22 saves in the loss.
1. For the third straight game, the Hurricanes were awarded just one power play, and the frustration at the lack of calls seems to be boiling over. Whether it was uncalled penalties, phantom high sticks leading to plays being blow dead or the continually curious application of hybrid icing, Carolina doesn’t seem to get the respect usually given to a team that is at or within whispering distance of the top spot in the league.
Since March 11, the Hurricanes have only had more than three power play opportunities once — they scored on 2 of 6 attempts March 27 against Tampa Bay — in 11 games. Carolina has had four games during that stretch in which they’ve had one power play chance, including Saturday night.
“That seems a little weird, especially when we play the game we play, which we have the puck a lot in the O zone,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “Usually all that stuff evens out at some point. But it is kind of strange.”
Hamilton, who has a team-high 14 points on the power play, said he couldn’t comment on the officiating but would obviously like to see his team get more chances.
“As power play players, we want to be on the power play as much as we can,” Hamilton said. “And we’ve been talking about how it’s been tough just getting one a game. … We’ve got to do a better job, I guess, of drawing penalties, holding onto pucks, challenging guys, (and) make it hard on the refs to make them make a call. So I think that’s on us. I don’t think we can really complain about the refs.”
2. Vincent Trocheck continues to make an impact since returning to the lineup. He has four points in the three games since returning to the lineup — including an assist on the pass he made to set up Hamilton’s goal — and now has points in nine straight games dating back to Feb. 27.
3. Feb. 28, 2020 — that’s the last time I was in PNC Arena for a Hurricanes game. Carolina then hit the road, and … well, we all know how it’s gone since then. But Saturday night was a return to a little bit of normalcy for me now that I’m vaccinated.
Covering games on TV and doing interviews via Zoom has not been easy, but I think I speak for all of the media still working when I say we’re fortunate to have not been impacted beyond that during this unprecedented moment in our lifetime. That said, it felt good to be back tonight, and I hope it was one step toward getting back to how things were before.
Number To Know
100 — Career goals for Hamilton, whose first period goal tied the game 1-1. Hamilton now has 36 goals in 165 regular season games with the Hurricanes, 0.22 per game. He had 42 goals in 245 games with the Flames (0.17) and 22 in 178 games with the Bruins (0.12).
They Said It
“That third goal there was my fault. I was a little too casual, and I know it cost us the game. You’ve got to bring that every shift and learn from it.”
— Hurricanes defenseman Haydn Fleury, who got his first point of the season with a second period goal but lost Tanner Kero in front of the Carolina net on what would become the winning goal early in the third period.
Dougie Hamilton, Hurricanes defenseman — Hamilton was far and away Carolina’s best player Saturday. On top of notching his 100th goal, he was rock-solid defensively and seemed to create the Hurricanes’ best chances all night. Overall, it was probably No. 19’s best game of the season.
“He was really good,” Brind’Amour said. “Solid, obviously, had a lot of opportunities and made a lot of good plays. (He) played well defensively. … He was definitely one of the better players out there.”
Hamilton finished with a game-high nine shots on goal and the goal was his fourth of the season.
Andrei Svechnikov, Hurricanes forward — Svechnikov continues to slump, and his frustration has become evident and hurt his team Saturday. He was called for slashing in the second period on a forecheck, giving the Stars a late-period power play they converted on when Jamie Been scored on a rebound to tie the game.
“I don’t like the penalty that Svech takes because it’s 200 feet, 150 feet away from our net,” Brind’Amour said. “He doesn’t really need to do that, and that leads to a goal. Momentum was all going our way, for sure, (until then).”