The Dallas Stars have to improve in every area of the game when they get another shot at the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday.
The Stars were outscored 4-1 by their hosts on Saturday and outshot 26-11 in their first loss of the NHL season.
The shots-on-goal statistic really seems to stick in Rick Bowness’ craw.
“We didn’t put enough pressure on them,” the Stars’ head coach said. “We passed up way too many shots early in the game and it just kept going for us.”
He wants his team to come out in Sunday’s rematch with a change in mindset.
“If you come out with a shooting mentality, it continues through the game,” he said. “If you come out looking to make plays that aren’t there and turning pucks over, then that continues through the game. … When a guy has a clear shot at the net and he passes the puck, it has nothing to do with the system. It’s the player making the wrong decision. We made a lot of wrong decisions.”
Vincent Trocheck scored twice in three minutes in the first period. Andrei Svechnikov and Ryan Dzingel scored second-period power-play goals just one minute, 39 seconds apart. Petr Mrazek took the start for the Hurricanes but left in the opening minutes due to an injury. James Reimer replaced Mrazek and stopped 10 of 11 shots.
Joe Pavelski scored his fifth goal of the season on a Stars power play with 10:24 remaining in the third.
The Stars, playing their first road game, went almost 14 minutes of the second period before registering a single shot on goal. By then, Bowness had pulled goalie Anton Khudobin — after he allowed four goals on 16 shots — in favor of Jake Oettinger, who stopped all 10 shots he faced.
Pavelski echoed his coach’s displeasure.
“They were good, we weren’t,” the center said. “They seemed to be skating. They were kind of on top of us all night. That’s their M.O.”
On the other side of the coin, Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour was more than pleased with his team’s play, considering the recent nine-day layoff, thanks to a wave of COVID-19 cases on the roster.
They prevailed despite losing their top goalie and still being short five players in quarantine or recovering.
“The effort, that’s what’s been really special. Everyone is just digging in, to a man. That’s propelled us these last couple of games,”Brind’Amour said. “The guys have buckled down and are getting it done.”
Trochek said it’s a combination of the good things that keep the Hurricanes going.
“We’ve got a lot of skill on this team,” he said. “The nice thing about the skill players here is they work their butts off.”
The Stars are likely to face Reimer in net today after Mrazek was bowled over by teammate Max McCormick just 2:47 into the game.
Mrazek, who has played in four of the Canes’ five games and is 2-1-0, skated off the ice holding his right wrist.
“You can hear him screaming on the ice,” Brind’Amour said. “When there are fans, you don’t hear that noise. We thought it was worse. It’s still not good. I can’t tell you how long he’s going to be out for.”
–Field Level Media