via The Sports Xchange
RALEIGH, N.C. — The Dallas Stars won’t be in the NHL playoffs this season, but they’re trying to impact who will be.
Their latest result hurt one of the contending teams.
Kari Lehtonen made 25 saves as the Stars defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0 on Saturday night at PNC Arena, severely damaging Carolina’s late-season bid to make the playoffs.
“We’re playing against good teams that are fighting for their lives, so it should be fun hockey,” Dallas center Tyler Seguin said.
The outcome ended Carolina’s franchise-record 13 game point streak (9-0-4).
Jason Spezza scored in the second period to help Dallas avoid what would have been its second three-game losing streak in the last 25 days. John Klingberg and Devin Shore added empty-net goals in a 22-second span as the Stars won their sixth straight over Carolina.
With Boston winning 5-2 earlier Saturday at home against the Florida Panthers, it left the Hurricanes six points behind the Bruins for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Carolina has five games remaining.
Carolina goalie Cam Ward stopped 21 shots.
The Stars, whose next game is against playoff-contending Tampa Bay, were sluggish on offense recently, but attentive at the other end.
“Trying to focus on defense. Obviously, you want more goals,” Seguin said. “There is no real excuse. We have to find ways to score. There are a lot of young guys in the lineup and they’re figuring out our system. We have to find a way to put it all together.”
The Hurricanes won’t give up hope in trying to make the playoffs, but the latest result could be devastating.
“Are we capable of it?” Carolina coach Bill Peters said. “The answer is yes. … We want to keep going and make sure we’re taking care of ourselves.”
Carolina players said they’ll concentrate on trying to win games and see how it turns out by next weekend.
“We try not to think too much,” left winger Joakim Nordstrom: “Take it day by day and see where it takes us.”
After three sometimes-dramatic victories during the week, Carolina’s four-game homestand ended with a thud.
“When we play the game the right way, we’re a hard team to play against,” Peters said. “Once we get to our game, then everything settles in. Play the right way and see what happens.”
Spezza scored on a wrist shot 4:46 into the second period as Dallas took a 1-0 lead. It was his first goal since March 8 and his first point in four games.
As it turned out, one goal was enough on this night for a team that has difficulty finding the net during road games.
“We’ve had some bad luck scoring,” Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said. “We haven’t scored enough. It comes down a little bit to the offense.”
Carolina had only 12 shots through two periods.
The Hurricanes had the best scoring chance in the first period, with a line change catching the Stars off guard but were unable to convert.
Later in the period, Ward snuffed an attempt from Tyler Seguin. Through 20 minutes, Carolina held a 7-6 edge in shots.