Game three of the Hurricanes’ crucial five-game home stand could have sprung them to 2-0-1 start heading into a tough slate of weekend games.
That isn’t what happened, though.
On Thursday night, the Hurricanes mailed in one of their more disappointing games of the season and were bested by a Red Wings team that outworked them in all facets of the game.
It was all Carolina early on, though. Sebastian Aho had a pair of great scoring chances, including a clear-cut breakaway, but he and his teammates were held off the scoreboard by Jonathan Bernier.
Justin Faulk went to the box for interference at the 11:09 mark of the opening frame, and the Detroit power play took advantage of a blind clear off the stick of Jordan Martinook.
Veteran blueliner Niklas Kronwall picked off the clearing attempt and fired home his second goal of the season through a screen in front by 6’6” rookie Michael Rasmussen.
Kronwall took a trip to the penalty box late in the first period, but after a strong early push from the top power play unit, the Hurricanes couldn’t get much of anything going and trailed 1-0 through 20 minutes of hockey.
It took all of 90 seconds of second-period hockey for Andrei Svechnikov to do some Andrei Svechnikov things.
Andrei Svechnikov. SNIPE. 10th goal of the season. Tie game. pic.twitter.com/3oP1cTXHZn— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) December 21, 2018
The 18-year-old Russian introduced himself to Bernier’s nightmares and tied the game at one. It was goal number ten for Svechnikov, making him the quickest to ten goals by a first-year rookie in Hurricanes franchise history. He did it in his 32nd game.
The goal also extended Svechnikov’s point streak to a career-high four games.
More than ten minutes passed before the next goal was scored, and it was a deflection from an unmarked Frans Nielsen at the top of the crease that Petr Mrazek couldn’t corral. The goal gave Detroit its second lead of the game.
This time, the road team did not let Carolina back into the game.
Less than four minutes into the third period, a long-range shot from Jonathan Ericsson deflected off of Trevor van Riemsdyk and into the Canes net to make it a 3-1 hockey game.
From there, the Hurricanes looked disengaged. On top of not being very effective, the Hurricanes’ total team effort seemingly vanished and the final minutes of the third period just delayed the inevitable. A 195-foot empty-net goal from Dylan Larkin added insult to injury and the game ended shortly thereafter.
It was, frankly, a very disappointing game from the Canes. The Red Wings have been bottom-dwellers to this point and the home team should have won. Instead, Carolina wasted a real opportunity to get a momentum-building win before an extremely challenging weekend slate against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins.