The Carolina Hurricanes came into Saturday night’s game shorthanded. Facing a red-hot Dallas Stars team, the Hurricanes looked to be in for a fight.
Next Man Up
For the second game since returning from a COVID-induced hiatus, the Carolina Hurricanes found themselves without five regulars. Not just five players, but a collection of skaters who are instrumental to Carolina’s success at both ends of the ice.
Up front, Rod Brind’Amour‘s squad was without Teuvo Teravainen, Jordan Martinook, Warren Foegele, and newcomer Jesper Fast, all casualties of the coronavirus fallout. The defense was without linchpin Jaccob Slavin, the team’s undisputed leader on the blueline.
Despite these missing pieces, the Hurricanes kept pace with the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday and looked to do the same against Dallas. The Stars—whose season was delayed due to their own COVID issues—came out looking like a team fresh and hungry, winning four straight to start the campaign. The fact that they did so without starting goaltender Ben Bishop and star center Tyler Seguin is a testament to the game that Dallas plays.
Trocheck Hot From the Start
The Hurricanes started on time, putting pressure on the Stars and former Carolina netminder Anton Khudobin. Their perseverance paid off when Steven Lorentz—in the lineup due to the numerous scratches—smartly held onto the puck in the Dallas zone before handing it off to Martin Necas. Necas, in turn, threw the puck towards the goalmouth, allowing Vincent Trocheck to fire a shot past Dallas’ goalie at 4:05 of the first period.
With an assist on the goal, Lorentz picked up his first NHL point. Showing the character that has become ingrained in this team, Trocheck collected the puck and took it to the Hurricanes’ bench. Lorentz not only got on the board but got a souvenir from a game he’ll not soon forget.
Carolina would strike again just under 3 minutes later when Jordan Staal fired a pass into the slot which Trocheck sent on the net. Khudobin made a nice save only to have the puck stay in the slot. With the goaltender drifting to his left, Trocheck corralled the puck and fired a shot into the vacated net, giving the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead that they would carry into the first intermission.
Casualty Count Rises
Unfortunately, the Carolina Hurricanes would not escape the period unscathed. The first incident came during a first period Dallas rush when forward Max McCormick slid into Carolina goaltender Petr Mrazek. Mrazek quickly threw off his blocker, motioning with his catching glove for the trainer. He left the game in considerable pain and it was soon announced that he would not return to the game.
McCormick was involved in another incident later in the first when he was hit into the boards by Dallas forward Blake Comeau. McCormick was in visible distress on the ice and, like Mrazek, would not return.
There was another scare when Jake Bean momentarily left the Carolina bench. The talented, young rearguard was involved in a collision with John Klingberg. Bean, who has been playing well since being inserted into the lineup, would return to the game.