The Carolina Hurricanes headed into Detroit to face the worst team in the NHL in desperate need of two points. After a seesaw affair for the first two periods, that is exactly what they earned in their 5-2 win over the Red Wings on Tuesday. Petr Mrazek’s return to Detroit also represented his first action since his concussion in Toronto, and the former-Wing stopped 23 shots in the win. Two goals from Sebastian Aho - each on special teams - led the way as the Canes had their way on the man advantage with three power play goals.
The first period saw a solid start as the Canes consistently produced offensive pressure in the early going. That buzzing attack was rewarded as Morgan Geekie stayed hot, snapping a wrister past Jonathan Bernier near the midpoint of the period to give the Canes the early lead. From there, the Canes backed off a bit, and the pressure applied by the Red Wings put stress on Mrazek in his first action since his injury on February 22nd. After a series of turnovers in their own end, the Canes were finally burned as a backhander from Filip Hronek was tipped home by Tyler Bertuzzi to tie the score after one.
In the second, each team continued to intermittently generate offensive chances, but the Aho-Teravainen-Svechnikov line continued to be quiet. After earning a power play on a Jonathan Ericsson interference call, the Canes cashed in that opportunity with a Nino Niederreiter re-direct of a Jake Gardiner to retake a one goal advantage.
The Canes could not shake the Wings, however, as late in the period Christoffer Ehn streaked to the front of the net to tip home a shot-pass from Madison Bowey to even the score. Despite needing to kill a poor penalty late from Niederreiter, the Canes were able to escape the period tied, but left the outcome very much in doubt headed to the final stanza.
As the third period loomed, the Canes were quickly able to seemingly assert control again, earning a power play and quickly capitalizing against a loose penalty kill from the Wings. Justin Williams beat Bernier from the right slot following a pass from below the goal line from Svechnikov to give the Canes the lead yet again at 3-2.
A short time later, it appeared as though the Canes were again allowing the Wings to hang around following a poor boarding penalty from Martin Necas. That disappointment was quickly washed away as Aho took advantage of a breakaway created on the penalty kill to deposit his fourth short-handed goal of the season to give the Canes their first two-goal advantage at 4-2.
From there, the Canes maintained control the rest of the way as they finally were able to grind the Wings down and eliminate significant offensive opportunities, save for a terrific stop on Alex Biega by Mrazek with just over six minutes remaining. The exclamation point appeared to come when Justin Williams streaked across the blueline after a bouncing puck, eventually dropping a nice feed off to Svechnikov for an apparent tally. After a Red Wings review however, it was determined that Williams was offside.
Soon after, a questionable Anthony Mantha hit on Svechnikov was quickly followed by a Robby Fabbri dash through the crease and collision with Mrazek that led to a scrap behind the Canes net with just over three minutes remaining. Back out on the power play, the Canes finally added the finishing touch they were denied earlier, as Aho deposited the third power play marker of the night with just over two minutes left. With their 5-2 win, the Canes took care of business with a terrific third period and reinforced their position within the playoff picture.
The Canes will now travel to New Jersey to finish the road trip and attempt to win their fourth straight, again seeking two points against a last-place opponent.