Carolina captain Jordan Staal was in the right spot twice to score power-play goals and the Central Division-leading Hurricanes beat the playoff-chasing Dallas Stars 5-1 on Tuesday night.
Sebastian Aho had a goal and two assists for the Hurricanes while Andrei Svechnikov, who they got with the second overall pick in the 2018 NHL draft held in the same building, had a career-high three assists.
Jason Robertson had his 15th goal for Dallas to extend his point streak to nine games, breaking a tie with Jamie Langenbrunner (1996-97) for the longest by a rookie in Stars history. It is also the longest by any NHL rookie this season.
Defending Western Conference champion Dallas had earned points in its previous seven home games (6-0-1), but missed a chance to get even with Nashville for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central Division. The Stars do have two games in hand against the Predators, who they play Saturday.
Nashville lost 7-4 at home Tuesday night to second-place Florida, which remained two points behind Carolina in the standings. The Hurricanes have 71 points with seven games left.
The Stars played their final home game, and their first of seven consecutive road games to end the regular season is Thursday night at Tampa Bay. Carolina plays its next five games at home, starting Thursday against Detroit.
Carolina started the second period on a power play, which was winding down when Svechnikov made a pass to Aho, whose one-timer from about 50 feet ricocheted hard off the glass and over the net into the crease behind goalie Anton Khudobin. Stall swatted the puck in the net for a 3-0 lead.
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Carolina goalie Alex Nedeljkovic had 27 saves. Khudobin stopped 25 shots.
Aho had an earlier power-play shot that bounced off Khudobin and right onto the stick of Staal in front for the first goal 7:08 into the game. Only 61 seconds later, Aho scored his team-best 21st goal this season.
Staal had only two goals in his previous 10 games since a two-goal game April 6 versus Florida. He has 16 goals and 37 points, including the primary assist on Nino Niederreiter's 18th goal in the third period.
Max McCormick scored his second goal of the season for Carolina, after getting his first in an overtime loss against the Stars on Monday. … Hurricanes wing Teuvo Teravainen played for the first time since March 4 after missing 25 games because of a concussion. It was only his second game since Feb. 19. … The announced crowd of 6,014 was a season high for the Stars. Capacity is still limited at American Airlines Center, but not as much as when the season started in January with a crowd of 4,214 -- about 22% of the building's hockey capacity of 18,532.
The Stars have three games remaining against the Lightning, the team that beat them in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final last September in the NHL bubble. There is also the game at Nashville, and a single game at Florida before finishing with two games in Chicago.
There were only three on-ice officials for a short portion of the first period after linesman Jonny Murray got crushed and went down by the boards near the benches when caught in between Carolina defenseman Jake Gardiner and Stars forward Blake Comeau. Play resumed after Murray got up and left the ice for a few minutes before returning.
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