for this game

Williams' late goal allows Hurricanes to hold off Stars

Nov 19, 2006 - 2:34 AM
RALEIGH, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Justin Williams does a lot of the little things for the Carolina Hurricanes. Sometimes, he also does the big things.

Williams scored the decisive goal with less than seven minutes remaining and Eric Staal recorded a hat trick as the Hurricanes skated to a 5-4 victory over the Dallas Stars.

Carolina won for the fifth time in six games despite squandering a two-goal lead in the third period. The difference turned out to be the eighth goal of the season for Williams, one of the better two-way forwards in the NHL.

With the game tied at 3-3 with 6:32 left, Williams intercepted a clearing attempt along the left boards. He settled the puck and launched a slap shot that beat goaltender Marty Turco just under the crossbar.

"It was a big goal," Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette said. "It was only six minutes (left) and you're going to be staring at overtime or a shootout. It was disappointing to be 3-3 at that point. I think a goal is the result of a style that you play."

Cam Ward preserved the lead down the stretch, making his biggest stop with a kick save on Mike Modano with roughly two minutes left.

That save effectively ended the hopes for the Stars, who have lost four of their last six contests.

"We've got to get back on track," Dallas center Stu Barnes said. "The bottom line is wins and losses."

Staal completed his third career hat trick with an empty-netter with 46 seconds to play before defenseman Jaroslav Modry scored a meaningless goal for Dallas with one tick left.

"It's been like that for a lot of hockey players," Staal said. "You get a lot of chances, you make a great shot and it doesn't go your way. Then you take another couple of looks and it'll just find the net for you. It did that for me tonight."

Staal's second power-play goal of the game afforded Carolina a 3-1 lead less than two minutes into the middle session. Ward protected that cushion until the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner allowed goals to Patrik Stefan and Jeff Halpern in a 46-second span of the third period.

"We put ourselves in a big hole," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "Even though our penalty killers did a pretty good job, we just can't give them that many opportunities."

Stefan, who scored his first goal of the season Friday, struck again at 7:25 of the third period in this one when he beat Ward on a 2-on-1 following a nifty saucer feed from Modano.

Before the Hurricanes even had a chance to recover, Halpern tied it on a redirection after Matthew Barnaby put the puck right on his stick in front of the net.

"It shows a lot of character to come back," Barnaby said. "We worked hard when the chips were down and really let it all hang out."

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