The Carolina Hurricanes’ home opener Friday was a reversal from the season-opening loss in Nashville. Unfortunately, the end result was the same.
The Canes took control of the game early, outshooting the Red Wings 18-2 in the first period, and despite still giving up the first goal of the game midway through the second entered the third period with a one-goal lead. But Carolina could not hold off Detroit, who scored three third-period goals to top the Canes, 4-3.
Here's a closer look at Friday’s loss that dropped Carolina to 0-2 on the season.
1. Like Thursday’s season opener that saw Carolina lose James Wisniewski just minutes into the game, the Hurricanes were again down a man early when Riley Nash left after playing just 1:54. But curiously, it wasn't fellow center Jordan Staal (15:03 of ice time) who picked up the slack in Nash’s absence. Coach Bill Peters instead leaned more on his top line — Victor Rask played a game- and career-high 24:50 — while the younger Staal’s role remained relatively minimal.
2. The Hurricanes outshot the Wings 47-19 on the contest, but were again plagued by their inability to finish around the net. Carolina’s lack of scoring touch was particularly noticeable on the power play, where the team was 0 for 5 until Justin Faulk scored with three seconds left — and Cam Ward pulled for a sixth attacker — and the game already decided.
3. In order to win in the NHL, sometimes you need your goalie to bail you out. Was Cam Ward solely to blame on any of Detroit’s goals Saturday? No. But he also didn't make many saves of consequence on a night when Carolina set the pace. The Hurricanes need to finish better and give their goalie to a multiple-goal lead on night’s when they dominate play as much as they did Saturday, but Ward also needs to answer the bell and pick his team up. Don't be surprised if newcomer Eddie Lack gets his first action of the regular season Tuesday when the Canes host Florida.
Number To Know
13 — Shot attempts for Faulk, including a last-second inconsequential power play goal, to lead all players. That included seven shots on net — Eric Staal led all players with nine — in nearly 24 minutes of ice time.
Victor Rask — The second-year center led all players in time on ice, won nine of 13 faceoffs and scored on a nifty out-of-midair baseball swing to tie the game in the second period after Detroit had deflated the Canes by scoring first despite the lopsided nature of the game. If the first two games of the year are any indication, Rask doesn't seem like a candidate for a sophomore slump.
Chris Terry — Terry will never be known as a defensive stopper, but if he's going to be invisible in the offensive end all night (no shots on goal, two shot attempts total) then he needs to be more reliable defensively. Terry lost his man quite a few times in the defensive zone Saturday, and he failed to pick up an open forward on two of Detroit’s goals.