Once upon a time, the Carolina Hurricanes went 23 years without winning a game when visiting the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. With the Wings moving down the street to the new Little Caesars Arena this season, the Hurricanes left that history in the past, and are 1-for-1 in the Wings’ new digs after a 3-1 win on Saturday night on the strength of a pair of power-play goals from Elias Lindholm.
Coming off of a week away from the rink, the Canes certainly did not open the game looking the traditional part of a team returning from a bye week. An early tripping penalty to Gustav Nyquist proved fruitful for the Canes when Lindholm cleaned up the rebound of a Jordan Staal shot, giving the visitors the lead with their seventh power play goal in the last five games. The Canes have three straight games with a power play goal and are 9-26 on the man advantage since the beginning of January.
At one point the Canes led 9-1 in shots, but the Wings started asserting play midway through the period. The Canes’ lone penalty of the night, a Haydn Fleury holding call against Anthony Mantha, cost them when Tomas Tatar wired a one-timer over Cam Ward’s shoulder to tie the game.
Tatar nearly put the Wings on top a minute into the second period, when his wrister had Ward beat but couldn’t get it past the left post. Neither team had anything resembling a solid scoring chance in the remainder of a turgid period, the Canes’ best chance coming when Noah Hanifin whiffed on a rebound and could only manage a weak follow-up chance on Jimmy Howard.
Trevor Daley suffered a lower-body injury midway through the second period, allowing the Canes to face a depleted Wings defense corps and forcing Wings coach Jeff Blashill to plug Luke Witkowski in as an impromptu defenseman.
The ice-as-quicksand show continued into the third period until Xavier Ouellet low-bridged Jeff Skinner on a dangerous check as Skinner attempted to spring an odd-man rush.
Yikes. That could've been bad. pic.twitter.com/yBITuovOK2— Brett Finger (@brettfinger) January 21, 2018
Skinner wasn’t injured, and even better for the Canes they reacquired the lead on the subsequent power play. Lindholm, by now making a living at the goal mouth on power play, swung and missed on his first attempt of cleaning up a Teuvo Teravainen rebound, but despite having the puck on its side and Jonathan Ericsson slashing his stick Lindholm snuck the puck through Howard’s pads and restored the Carolina lead.
Lindholm’s goal seemed to give the Canes their skating legs back, looking more like the team that started the game rather than the one that trudged through its midsection. But as happened in the first period, the Canes were slowly put on the back foot. Former Hurricanes legend Martin Frk nearly tied the game with four minutes left but his shot rang off the crossbar, and a few seconds later Mike Green’s shot was blocked on a last-ditch challenge by Klas Dahlbeck to preserve the lead.
And those defensive plays came in handy when Justin Williams gave the Canes a two-goal lead off the remnants of a breakaway with two minutes remaining. Williams’ first attempt rolled off his stick, but Brock McGinn fished out the rebound and recentered to Williams, who pinballed the puck off Howard’s right leg and into the net.
The Canes were left to kill a Teravainen penalty with 1:45 left, and did so although at the expense of Trevor van Riemsdyk’s leg, hurt blocking a Dylan Larkin shot with twenty seconds left. He was able to skate off gingerly, but it didn’t dampen the mood on the Carolina bench as the Canes snapped their two-game losing streak and moved to within three points of the final playoff spot, still with games in hand over everyone ahead of them.
Rank the Performances
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