The Detroit Red Wings beat the Carolina Hurricanes Monday night by a score of 3-1 in a tight, action packed game at the RBC. The Stanley Cup Champs scored two powerplay goals, then added an empty netter for good measure near the end of the game.
The Hurricanes played their most physical game of the season and were credited with 32 hits to the Wings 23, but penalties ended up killing the hometeam as special team play was the difference in this contest.
In the first period, Ray Whitney was called for a hooking penalty, the first of two penalties by him, and the Red Wings took immediate advantage when Nick Lidstrom scored on a blast from the point.
Joe Corvo evened the game early in the second period, but another Detroit powerplay goal, this one by Tomas Holmstrom who, as usual, was planted right in the crease, made the score 2-1.
The Hurricanes tried hard to tie the game and played pretty even five on five hockey, but were ineffective on their powerplay chances. That ended up costing them. Henrik Zetterberg added the empty netter for his first goal of the season.
The Red Wings played their typical puck possession game and out-shot the Canes in the first two periods, but Carolina came on strong in the third and out-shot the world champs, 13-8. Cam Ward was sharp through most of the game, but his ears were ringing as Detroit hit iron on more than one occasion.
The Canes had their chances as well. Tuomo Ruutu had a wonderful opportunity in the first period, but the puck was rolling and he could not back-hand it cleanly into the open net. He ended up sending it wide.
Carolina had almost 30 seconds of 5 on 3 advantage, but could never get anything setup and ended up taking another penalty themselves.
In the second period, Brandon Sutter had a great chance, but Ty Conklin somehow made the save. The goal judge lit the lamp on the play and the goal horn went off multiple times, fooling much of the crowd into thinking that there was a score. The goal judge did the same thing on Friday night, on a similar close play. Someone should give the judge a memo, don't light the lamp until the puck is actually in the net.
The team improved on faceoffs as Eric Staal went 12-12 and Rod Brind'Amour went 11-9. Brandon Sutter went 1-9, but otherwise played a pretty good game and generated quite a few chances.
Staal played over 26 minutes, as did Joni Pitkanen.
The loss gives the Canes a 2-1 record as they take their show on the road for the next six games.
After the game, the team admitted that they could have played better, but also gave the Red Wings credit for making things difficult on them. Everyone mentioned that committing so many penalties was a problem.
In this press interview with Joe Corvo, he talks about still needing to come out a bit more "crisper" from the gate and mentions that he went to school with Ty Conklin. I would bet that Corvo lit him up a few times there as well.
In the following press conference with Peter Laviolette, the coach says that the "lazy hooking and holding penalties will eventually kill us".