RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Petr Mrazek made 28 saves in his first game back after a two-month absence as the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Dallas Stars 1-0 on Sunday night.
Mrazek, who notched his third shutout of the season, played for the first time since suffering a thumb injury Jan. 30 against Dallas.
Stars coach Rick Bowness didn’t return to the bench for the third period because of what the team announced was a COVID protocol.
Jordan Martinook’s second-period goal was enough scoring. It was his second goal of the season, with the other coming Feb. 13 at Dallas.
Dallas goalie Jake Oettinger made 37 saves just a night after a 41-save outing in a victory against the Hurricanes.
The Stars had won consecutive games for the first time since the opening four games of the season.
BEHIND THE BENCH
Without Bowness, Stars assistant coach John Stevens took over the head coaching responsibilities for the third period.
A day earlier, Dallas goaltender Anton Khudobin was placed in the league’s COVID protocol. He had been the expected starter for that game.
Dallas had other health issues as well. Center Jason Dickinson was placed on injured reserve with a lower-body ailment prior to Sunday’s game. The Stars did get left winger Roope Hintz back after a one-game absence.
Mrazek was tied with two other goalies for the league lead with two shutouts when he was injured in late January. He had surgery on his right thumb as a result of an injury while playing the Stars.
He returned to form in his first game back, though he made a conditioning outing with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves in preparation for being back in the NHL.
The Hurricanes had good goalie work for stretches with Mrazek out of the lineup. Alex Nedeljkovic, who played Saturday night, was scratched for Sunday’s game. That meant James Reimer, who has a 14-4-1 record this season, was the backup for both weekend games.
Stars: At Chicago for games Tuesday and Thursday to cap a six-game road trip.
Hurricanes: Hosts Florida on Tuesday and Thursday.