After mental lapses cost them dearly in their first two games, the Carolina Hurricanes stressed playing a full 60 minutes Thursday night.
The Hurricanes took it a step further, battling the Dallas Stars to a 2-2 tie with 65 solid minutes of hockey as Keith Primeau and Gary Roberts scored 48 seconds apart early in the third period.
"That was the best 65 minutes that this hockey team has put together in a long time," Primeau said. "How can you not be excited, enthusiastic and pleased with the effort."
"Those guys play their system as good as anybody in the league and anytime you can take a point from the Dallas Stars, whether it's at home or on the road, we've got to feel good about it," added Roberts. "The wins will come if we play as hard as we did tonight."
Dallas' Mike Modano tied it with 12:47 left with a shot from the circle to the short side of goalie Arturs Irbe, playing for the benched Trevor Kidd. Modano has three goals in as many games this season.
Irbe stopped 36 of 38 shots against his former team.
"We've seen that from him before," Dallas coach Ken Hitchcock said of Irbe. "He's playing like a man that wants the No. 1 spot. Brett Hull must have had about seven shots on him and he stopped them all."
Hull, the high-priced free-agent signee from St. Louis, has no goals in three games with his new team.
The Hurricanes had a power play 56 seconds into overtime when Mike Keane was called for high-sticking, but Carolina failed to score as goalie Ed Belfour came up with several big saves.
Carolina blew a 4-1 lead against Tampa Bay at home in a season-opening tie, then lost to expansion Nashville on Tuesday night befortying Dallas -- the team with the best record in the NHL a season ago.
Primeau's goal came one minute into the final period on a great individual effort. He split a pair of Dallas defensemen down the slot for his second of the season.
Roberts then scored his first goal of the season when Ray Sheppard's dump-in pass bounced wildly off the boards as Belfour tried to clear the puck, which bounced right onto the stick of Roberts.
"Sometimes you need some ugly goals, they all aren't going to be pretty," Roberts said. "I'm the first one to tell you I've scored a lot of ugly goals in my career. I'll take them."
With the tie, Dallas ran its unbeaten string on the road against the Carolina franchise to nine game at 5-0-4. The Stars' last loss was in 1989 when the Carolina franchise was the Hartford Whalers.
After a scoreless first period, the Hurricanes killed three penalties early in the second period before Richard Matvichuk's shot from the point deflected off the stick of Carolina's Kevin Dineen and over the left shoulder of the surprised Irbe.
The apparent game-tying goal 61/2 minutes later by Roberts was waved off by referee Brad Watson, who said he lost sight of the puck before it fell behind Belfour and over the goal line.
The crowd of 5,531 was the second lowest for the Hurricanes since they moved to North Carolina. The team drew 15 fewer fans for a game last November against Calgary.
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