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NHL Game Summary - Dallas at Carolina

(Wednesday, December 16th)

Final Score: Carolina 5, Dallas 3

Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Tuomo Ruutu's first career hat trick led the Carolina Hurricanes to a rare win, a 5-3 decision over the Dallas Stars at RBC Center.

Eric Staal had a goal and two assists while Jussi Jokinen posted a goal and a helper for the Hurricanes, who snapped a three-game losing streak and won for the just the third time in 11 games.

Cam Ward earned his first win since October 9 behind 24 saves. He missed 13 games after being cut on the leg by Columbus forward Rick Nash's skate in the club's loss on November 7.

Brenden Morrow notched a goal and an assist for the Stars, who had lost three of four coming in but earned points in each of those contests (1-0-3).

Steve Ott and Loui Eriksson also scored and Mike Ribeiro recorded three assists in the setback. Marty Turco ended with 24 saves as Dallas fell to 1-1-2 on a five-game road trip that ends Thursday in Atlanta.

Ruutu gave the 'Canes a 4-2 lead 4:47 into the third by streaking down the right wing and flipping the puck in front, where it hit off Eriksson's skate before going in.

Dallas pulled Turco with 1:33 to play and Eriksson was able to swat a backhander into the net with 1:04 left on the clock. However, Mike Modano was forced to take down Ruutu, who broke behind the Stars' defense seconds later, leading to a Carolina power play. Ray Whitney then set up Ruutu for an empty- netter and the hat trick.

"It was good that we finished. I thought we played a very solid third period. We skated and started to finish even though we slowed down in the second period," said Hurricanes head coach Paul Maurice.

Carolina was on the board under five minutes in, capitalizing on an early power play. With the minor penalty nearing an end, Bryan Rodney emerged from behind his own net for a final rush and slung a tape-to-tape pass to Jokinen across both blue lines. Jokinen split a pair of Dallas defenders in the high slot and surprised a shifting Turco by depositing a wrist shot on the far side.

Less than two minutes later, Ruutu chipped in a bouncing puck at the right side of the net for a 2-0 lead. The Hurricanes made it a 3-0 game with 7:25 to go with another power-play goal, as Jokinen feathered a pass across the goalmouth to Staal at the right post for a quick-strike score.

Dallas breached the scoreboard on its first chance with the man advantage. Morrow took a pass from Ribeiro and spun a backhand pass from the low right side across the crease to Ott for the tap-in with 4:51 left in the first.

Dallas got within 3-2 just over 8 1/2 minutes into the middle period with its second power-play tally. Ribeiro sneaked in from the left point for a shot that Ward initially stopped, but Morrow was there to stuff home the rebound.

Game Notes

Stars defenseman Trevor Daley took a hit from Ruutu along the boards during the first period and did not return. It was labeled an upper-body injury...Carolina started a stretch of playing five of six at home on Wednesday...The Stars notched a 2-0 shutout victory over the Hurricanes at home on November 23. That win was Dallas' fifth in the last six meetings overall in the series...Rodney had his first career multi-point game with two assists...Joni Pitkanen also tallied two assists in the win...Carolina's Brett Carson registered an assist for his first NHL point.

12/16 22:26:30 ET

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