Hurricanes Blank Stars

You'll never mistake Carolina for the most talented team in the NHL, or the most physically imposing. However, few around the league have been able to outwork the Hurricanes.

Paul Ranheim scored his first goal in 27 games, and Arturs Irbe recorded his 21st career shutout as the Hurricanes beat the Dallas Stars 1-0 on Saturday night.

"We are not a team that is going to blow teams out of the building, but at the same time we are going to scrap and fight against anybody," said Irbe, who beat his former team. "We can get those two points if we come prepared and the other team isn't getting their best effort out there."

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  • That was the case Saturday night as the Hurricanes, playing on consecutive nights, outhit the Stars 33-16 and blocked 13 shots in front of Irbe.

    "A lot of good things came together tonight," said Irbe.

    Carolina ran its unbeaten streak to four (3-0-1) while the loss dropped the Stars (8-9-3) under .500 for the first time in more than two years.

    Dallas, the defending Stanley Cup champion, didn't lose its ninth game last season until Jan. 20.

    "It really is up to the individual," Dallas coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Offensive hockey comes from being hungry. When you're not hungry you do bad things."

    Carolina was playing its third game in four nights, but didn't appear fatigued at all, outskating Dallas and winning many of the battles in the corners to improve to 9-1-1 when leading after two periods.

    "The guys have a lot better understanding this year how to play defensively," coach Paul Maurice said. "I would still like us to be more aggressive in the third period."

    Irbe, playing his eighth straight game, was sharp coming off a 3-3 tie with Washington on Friday night, stopping 24 shots for his second shutout of te season. Irbe lost a shutout Wednesday night against Ottawa in the final 48 seconds.

    Ranheim, a fourth-line center and penalty killer, scored his first of the season on only his 11th shot of the season.

    His first goal since last March was set up when Jeff Daniels poked the puck away from a Dallas defenseman behind the net. Kent Manderville then flicked it with his skate to Ranheim in the slot, who one-timed it past Ed Belfour midway through the second period.

    "I wasn't going to make any mistake on that one," Ranheim said. "The guys were giving me a hard time that I was going to put it through the net."

    Carolina has yet to be scored on shorthanded in seven homes games. Dallas was 0-for-2 on the power play, giving the Hurricanes 15 straight kills down a man.

    "We're just too light offensively," said Hitchcock, whose club has scored just five goals in its last four games. "We didn't win enough one-on-one battles in front of the net. We didn't win enough one-on-one battles for second shots."

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