Eaves scores 2 goals, Stars beat Hurricanes 5-2
DALLAS (AP) — It took Patrick Eaves 11 seasons to exceed the 20 goals he scored in his rookie season.
Eaves scored two goals on Saturday, and the Dallas Stars beat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2.
His first goal was one of three in the first 6:11 against Carolina goalie Cam Ward. In the second period of his 600th career game, Eaves scored his career-high 21st goal. It was his 11th on the power play this season.
“If you look at most of his goals where he’s shooting from, he’s around the front,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “Some of them that have been great hand-eye-coordination-type goals, just that quick release is something that goaltenders have a tough time with.”
Esa Lindell and Curtis McKenzie added unassisted goals in the first period. Adam Cracknell scored midway through the third.
Sebastian Aho scored Carolina’s first goal in the second period, and Justin Faulk put in a rebound on the power play in the third.
Ward and Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen each made 22 saves.
The Stars ended a four-game losing streak, their longest this season. Carolina has lost two in a row.
Jamie Benn had two assists for the Stars. McKenzie assisted on Cracknell’s goal for the first two-point game of his career.
Elias Lindholm and Jordan Staal each assisted on both Hurricanes goals.
When the Stars signed Eaves as a free agent before the 2014-15 season, he had played only 74 games and scored four goals in the previous three years. He missed more than a year following a concussion in November 2011.
“It was great to come down here, and play a system that I was used to already from Detroit,” Eaves said. “It was fresh air down here.”
He has scored 46 goals in his two-plus seasons with the Stars. His 35 points this season also are a career high.
Lindell’s goal came 51 seconds into the game. Off a faceoff in the Dallas end, he poked the puck away from Carolina’s Jaccob Slavin. Lindell carried the puck on a 2-on-1 break with Antoine Roussel and shot past Ward from the right faceoff circle.
Benn set up Eaves’ goal at 5:49. The Stars’ captain dumped the puck into the left corner, but it bounced toward the front of the goal. Cody Eakin retrieved it and sent a backhand pass to Eaves in the slot.
“Jamie ended up making a great play off the boards there, and (Eakin) was flying,” Eaves said. “So I just kind of took off trying to keep up with him and he chipped it right over to me.”
Just 22 seconds later, McKenzie skated in on another 2-on-1. His pass attempt from the left side went off the stick of Hurricanes defenseman Matt Tennyson and into the net.
“You don’t go on the road and give up those types of goals that easy and then come back,” Carolina coach Bill Peters said.
Ruff attributed the fast start to “puck luck.”
“We’ve talked about finishing and getting a bounce here or there, and it doesn’t come our way. Effort was good, but you’ve got to get a little bit of luck at the same time. (Today) I thought we got that.”
Eaves’ second goal was at 17:09 of the second period. Radek Faksa backhanded a pass from behind the net to Eaves in the slot, and he put the puck high inside the left goalpost.
NOTES: The Stars announced a series of events next season celebrating 25 years of NHL hockey in Dallas. The highlight will be retiring the number 26 of Jere Lehtinen, a three-time Frank Selke Trophy winner. ... Benn has nine points (five goals, four assists) in the last six games. ... Carolina entered the game with the NHL’s top-ranked penalty-killing unit, and allowed one goal on four Dallas power plays. ... Cracknell’s goal was his career-high seventh. The Stars have won the three most recent games between the teams, and eight of the last nine at home against Carolina.
Hurricanes: After five days off, they’ll begin a five-game homestand on Friday vs. Colorado.
Stars: Begin a three-game trip on Sunday at Nashville