Olympic hockey is officially over and our boys in green are back. They managed to deliver a big loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Stars came back into the season after the Olympic riding on a renewed confidence with their captain Jamie Benn being an instrumental part of Team Canada’s gold medal win, as well as their goaltender Kari Lehtonen bringing home the bronze for Finland, where he backed up the Boston Bruins‘ Tuukka Rask between the pipes. They came back with big expectations after securing themselves a Wild Card spot before the break, and with tonight’s win they’ve managed to defend it for now.
Jamie Benn has certainly garnered national attention from his play in the Olympics and he proved that the attention is well deserved, as he racked up three points.
Tyler Seguin opened up the scoring for the Stars early in the first when he sent the puck past Anton Khudobin with assists from Valeri Nichushkin and Jamie Benn. It was just three minutes later that the Stars managed to do it again as Brenden Dillon got a shorty with the help of captain Benn. They fought off the Hurricanes well throughout the remainder of the period, ending it with a 2-0 lead.
The Canes didn’t seem to do much better during the second period, not managing to do much of anything and letting the Stars dominate the puck as they had been the whole game. Jamie Benn got on the board again late in the period when his puckhandling skills managed to trick Khubodin and light up the lamps for the third time of the night. Benn’s goal came as the Stars’ second shorthanded goal of the night, and was unassisted. The third period ended with the Stars still dominating, 3-0.
The third period was quite explosive for all the wrong reasons. It started off with Eric Staal of the Hurricanes scoring on Kari Lehtonen, the first goal of the night for the Canes. Not too long after the goal that lowered the deficit to two, Antoine Roussel slammed into Anton Khubodin while coming in with the puck, knocking Khubodin’s head into the crossbar and leaving him lying on the ice. Ron Hainsey was the first responder in defense of Khubodin, almost immediately throwing off his gloves and going after Roussel. Roussel didn’t seem to want to fight, but it was too late for him to stop, as Hainsey was laying on the smackdown in defense of his team’s goaltender. Roussel managed to get a couple good hits in, but was pummeled by Hainsey, leaving him bloodied and facing a lot of penalty time. Roussel got two five minute penalties for fighting and a charging major, as well as a game misconduct. Hainsey faced two minutes for instigating, five for fighting, and a game misconduct as well. The game went on as normal, but was scoreless until Cody Eakin sent the puck in on the empty net, bringing the game to an end with a score of 4-1.
” It was a good way to start. After a break like that you never know what’s gonna happen. We started with two great, quick goals and, you know, and after that we kind of controlled it,” goaltender Kari Lehtonen said after the game, “It was just a nice overall game.”
Jamie Benn was asked about all the penalty killing his team had to do during the game, saying, “The more you penalty kill the more comfortable you are with it, ” he said, “I’ve gotten quite a bit of penalty killing time lately and a lot more tonight. I feel comfortable out there. I think our group did a great job on the kill tonight and we want to keep building off of that.”
This game brings the Stars record to 28-21-10, just enough to get them into a wild card spot for the playoffs, a spot that they will need to fight hard to keep. They are going to be squaring off on Saturday night against the Tampa Bay Lighting at 2pm (Central time).