Roope Hintz scored his first career hat trick and the Hurricanes’ scoring woes continued in a 4-1 loss Tuesday in Dallas.
Hintz scored in each of the three periods, capping off his night with an empty-net goal that sealed Carolina’s third loss in four games.
The Hurricanes outshot the Stars 40-17 and dominated the scoring chances — NaturalStatTrick.com had Carolina with a 32-7 advantage in 5-on-5 scoring chances, including a 17-6 edge in high-danger chances. But the Hurricanes, who have scored two or fewer goals in five of their last seven games, remained snake bit.
“I don’t know what we had for chances, but we’re getting our chances,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “They’re gonna start going in.”
Also standing in Carolina’s way was Dallas goalie Braden Holtby. The former Capitals netminder made 39 stops and improved to 17-7-1 in his career against the Hurricanes.
Carolina didn’t dent Holtby until 16:27 of the third period when a loose puck in the Stars end was eventually jabbed in by Hurricanes center Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who scored for the third straight game and now has six goals on the season.
Despite playing without all three of their regular right-handed defenseman — Tony DeAngelo, Ethan Bear and Brett Pesce are all in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol — the Hurricanes still limited Dallas’ chances. But when the Stars — Hintz, in particular — got a chance, they finished it.
Hintz opened the scoring just 73 seconds into the game, weaving through the Carolina defense and scoring on his own rebound past Frederik Andersen (13 saves) to give Dallas a 1-0 lead.
“it’s never fun playing behind, especially in this league,” Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal said of allowing the early goal. “It’s not easy scoring goals, especially in the kind of funk we’re in.”
Then with just over five minutes left in the second, Hintz struck again.
A Hurricanes dump-in struck a linesman and sent the Stars the other way, and Dallas forward Jason Robertson won a board battle against Brady Skjei to start a 2-on-1. Joe Pavelski feathered a pass through AHL call-up Jalen Chatfield to Hintz, and the Finnish winger scored again.
“The mistakes we’re making are just costing us. … Obviously, they’re making mistakes because we’re getting a ton of chances,” Brind’Amour said, “but the ones we’re making are just biting us right now.”
A redirection by Pavelski at 9:31 of the third period hit the post and banked in off Andersen’s back to make it 3-0, and Carolina’s last-ditch effort to come back after Kotkaniemi’s goal ended when Hintz scored into an empty net with 2:50 remaining.
Tuesday’s loss marked the fourth straight game Carolina had outshot its opponents — three times by double figures — but the Hurricanes have just managed one win in that stretch and are now 15-5-1 on the season. While Brind’Amour encouraged his team to stay the course, his players are getting anxious for results.
“I think the foundational mindset … is, ‘Hey, let’s right the ship right away,’” defenseman Ian Cole said. “Let’s not let this linger. Let’s not continue to, ‘Oh, play well, but hey, we lost.’ You know, that’s not good enough.
“The name of the game as professional athletes is to win. That’s it. So that should be our only focus.”
One bright spot was the play of Chatfield and Max Lajoie, who were both called up from the AHL’s Chicago Wolves to take the place of DeAngelo and Pesce after they joined Bear on the COVID list.
“They were great,” Brind’Amour said. “I was actually overly pleased with how well they played.”
Chatfield, who played 17:35 and finished with two shots on goal, finished with game-highs in shot attempts (7) and hits (5) in his Hurricanes debut, while Lajoie logged 13:36 and also had two shots on goal with six shot attempts.
“I think they stepped in and did a great job,” Cole said. “So, very proud of those two guys for the work they did.”
Notes: Jordan Staal lost 13 of 18 faceoffs and Sebastian Aho won just 2 of 8. … The Hurricanes were 0 for 3 on the power play and have not scored with the man advantage in seven games. … Carolina, without DeAngelo, utilized five forwards on the first power play unit, moving Teuvo Teravainen to the point and elevating Martin Necas from the second group. Kotkaniemi rejoined the second unit, filling Necas’ spot.