Jason Spezza scored, Kari Lehtonen earned his third shutout of the season and the Dallas Stars beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0 on Saturday night.
John Klingberg and Devin Shore added empty-netters, and Lehtonen stopped 25 shots in his second shutout in six starts to help the Stars snap a two-game losing streak and deal a serious blow to the Hurricanes’ already slim playoff chances.
Cam Ward stopped 21 shots for Carolina, which began four points behind Boston for the East’s final playoff spot with six games left and Tampa Bay between the teams.
The Hurricanes failed to earn a point for the first time since losing at Colorado on March 7 — a club-record stretch of 13 straight games with either a win or an overtime loss. They fell to 2-4-2 against the bottom four teams in the Western Conference: Dallas, Vancouver, Arizona and Colorado.
Dallas scored more than two goals for just the third time since March 6 in earning just its 12th road win of the season.
Carolina, which scored an NHL-best 54 goals in March, was shut out for the first time since a 4-0 loss to Toronto on Feb. 19.
Spezza scored the game’s first goal 4:46 into the second with a wrist shot from the circle that beat Ward high to his glove side — a score that was nearly identical to Jack Johnson’s goal two nights earlier. That gave Spezza 19 career goals against the Hurricanes.
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes missed a prime chance earlier in the game. Dallas — and its league-worst penalty-kill unit — drew a minor midway through the first, but the Hurricanes came up empty on a 3-on-nobody rush after they caught the Stars on a line change.
The Hurricanes reassigned G Alex Nedeljkovic to their ECHL affiliate in Florida. Nedeljkovic was brought up Tuesday, one day after Lack was hurt at the end of an overtime loss to Detroit. ... Dallas LW Curtis McKenzie was back in Texas after a high stick he took near his eye two nights earlier at Boston caused him to bleed profusely on the ice.
Stars: Wrap up a five-game Eastern road trip Sunday night when they visit Tampa Bay in their final road game of the season.
Hurricanes: Travel to Pittsburgh on Sunday for the start of a two-game road trip against playoff-bound opponents. They visit Minnesota on Tuesday night.
First Period—None. Penalties—Ritchie, DAL, (cross checking), 12:34.
Second Period—1, Dallas, Spezza 13 (Pateryn, Elie), 4:46. Penalties—None.
Third Period—2, Dallas, Klingberg 13, 18:03. 3, Dallas, Shore 12, 18:35. Penalties—None.
Shots on Goal—Dallas 6-10-8—24. Carolina 7-5-13—25. Power plays—Dallas 0 of 0; Carolina 0 of 1. Goalies—Dallas, Lehtonen 21-23-7 (25 shots-25 saves). Carolina, Ward 26-21-11 (22-21). A—14,201 (18,680). T—2:17.