Stars edge Hurricanes on Kero’s goal
Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 4, 2021
By BOB SUTTON
RALEIGH (AP) — Tanner Kero snapped a tie 2:52 into the third period, and the Dallas Stars beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 on Saturday night to post consecutive victories for the first time since the opening week of the season.
“We wanted to string a few wins together so this is a good start,” Kero said.
Andrew Cogliano and Jamie Benn also scored for Dallas, which won 4-1 at Nashville on Thursday night. Mark Pysyk recorded his first two assists of the season.
Jake Oettinger made a career-high 41 saves, matching the most for a Dallas rookie since the franchise relocated to Texas.
“He’s mature beyond his years,” Stars coach Rick Bowness said. “When you’re that confident in your abilities, you want to play. Nothing is going to rattle him at this point.”
Oettinger, 22, delivered after Anton Khudobin was placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. Oettinger didn’t find out that he would be the starter until prior to the morning skate.
“You’ve got to be ready for anything, especially this year,” Oettinger said.
The Stars last had a winning streak when they won their first four games of the year.
“We need to start climbing back in this race,” Kero said.
Dougie Hamilton and Haydn Fleury scored for Carolina. Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 22 shots in the opener of an eight-game homestand.
The Hurricanes had been 4-0 against Dallas this season.
The teams traded goals in the first two periods.
Cogliano put the Stars in front on a deflection just 3:41 into the game. Hamilton responded for the Hurricanes when he got a pass from Vincent Trocheck, made one slight move and basically shot into an open net at 9:33.
“It’s just a read and reaction for me,” Hamilton said.
It was Hamilton’s 100th NHL goal, just two games after his 14-game point streak ended in a loss at Chicago.
Fleury put the Hurricanes ahead in the second with a shot from just inside the blue line. Oettinger appeared to have a read on the puck, but instead it bounced off a pad and between his legs. For Fleury, appearing in his 32nd game in 2021, it was his first point of the season.
“I’ve had chances all year,” Fleury said. “It wasn’t really from a lack of looks.”
Benn’s power-play goal with 29 seconds to play in the period tied it at 2. Stationed in front of the net, Benn collected a rebound and slid the puck around Nedeljkovic.
The sequence occurred after an ill-advised slashing penalty on Carolina’s Andrei Svechnikov.
“You can’t give goals to good teams,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “It’s too hard to come back from.”
NOT THE PLAN, BUT …
Khudobin had been expected to start in goal. His absence created an opening for Oettinger.
“I love to play against the best players in the world, and I think they have some of those guys over there,” Oettinger said. “To measure where I’m at is always super fun, especially against a team like that.”
Left winger Roope Hintz and defenseman Joel Hanley also were out of the Dallas lineup with lower-body injuries.
“For us to come in here injured and beaten up and show that we can beat anyone no matter who’s in our lineup is a great testament to how deep we are,” Oettinger said.
The teams meet again tonight in Raleigh.