DALLAS (AP) The only way the Carolina Hurricanes and Dallas Stars meet again this season is if they make the Stanley Cup Final. While there's still a long way to go, both teams are playing pretty good hockey just before the All-Star break.
Martin Necas scored 1:34 into overtime to give the Hurricanes a 3-2 win over the Western Conference leaders in a matchup of first-place teams Wednesday night.
''They're playing kind of similar hockey like we do. It's always tough going against them,'' said Necas, who also had an OT winner when the teams played in December. ''Fortunate, twice in overtime we beat them.''
Sebastian Aho scored shorthanded for his 200th career goal and Brent Burns also scored for the Hurricanes, who lead the Metropolitan Division in the Eastern Conference. The game-winner was Necas' 19th goal this season.
Dallas is still atop the Central Division after consecutive 3-2 overtime losses at home. The Stars are 3-9 in games that have gone beyond regulation.
''The overtime thing, it's a little bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy right now. We just don't have a lot of confidence for whatever reason in overtime,'' coach Pete DeBoer said. ''We've got to find that swagger again.''
Jason Robertson scored his 33rd goal for Dallas, and 19-year-old rookie Wyatt Johnston got his 13th.
Carolina goalie Frederik Andersen didn't return after the first intermission because of an upper-body injury, soon after a strange sequence that ended with Robertson scoring on a shot from what seemed to be an impossible angle.
The puck was bouncing on the ice behind Andersen and settled against the post after Tyler Seguin's shot before the goalie was able to swipe it away to his right. Robertson then shot from behind Andersen, and the puck apparently ricocheted off him and into the net for a 2-1 Dallas lead. Robertson's 33rd goal matched his assists total through 50 games.
Antti Raanta replaced Andersen and stopped all 15 shots he faced - none in overtime - after the starter had four saves. Raanta had to shake off getting struck in the head by Mason Marchment's stick when the Stars forward was behind the net fighting for the puck midway through the third period.
''We didn't give up a ton, which was great. It's a tough spot to come in, obviously, when you're cold and on the bench,'' Carolina coach Rod Brind'Amour said of Raanta. ''But, you know, he's been around. He knows that that's part of his job. And obviously he did it well.''
Stars goalie Jake Oettinger stopped 22 shots, including a glove save of Andrei Svechnikov's wrister with just more than five minutes left in regulation.
In the first period, Oettinger went into a full split, with his right skate against the post, to deny Paul Stastny's attempt to knock in a loose puck.
Aho put Carolina up 1-0 midway through the first period with his 16th career short-handed goal, matching captain Eric Staal's franchise record. The Stars got even just more than two minutes later when Johnston scored unassisted after a faceoff.
Johnston also had a shot ricochet off the post with just under six minutes left.
Burns tied the game at 2 in the second period, getting the puck after a faceoff, then skating over the top of the circle and scoring top shelf over Oettinger's left shoulder.
NOTES: Carolina improved to 8-8 in games past regulation. ... Marchment was coming out of the penalty box at the same time as an errant pass in the second period. He had a breakaway attempt, but couldn't get enough control of the puck to get off a quality shot. ... Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce and Stars center Luke Glendening both got five-minute penalties for fighting in the second period.
Hurricanes: Will play San Jose on Friday night in the first of three consecutive home games.
Stars: Host the New Jersey Devils on Friday night in their last game before the All-Star break.
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