It might not have been picture perfect, but the Hurricanes did not leave much to complain about in a season-opening 3-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings.
Petr Mrazek didn’t have to do much in a dominant possession night for the Hurricanes, but did turn aside all 14 shots he faced as he picked up the shutout to kick things off. The Hurricanes peppered Thomas Greiss with 43 shots on the other end, and he held down the fort for most of the night until the Canes score twice in the final 2:28.
Forwards Nino Niederreiter, Ryan Dzingel and Andrei Svechnikov all scored for Carolina. Getting goals from Niederreiter and Dzingel, who are both looking for bounce-back seasons, in game one should bode well.
The Canes also came out on top in the special teams battle, going 1 for 3 on the power play and 2 for 2 on the penalty kill, also outhitting Detroit 27-19 in a physical, all-around strong performance.
Part of the debate around the Hurricanes’ forward lines coming into this game centered on Niederreiter playing on the top line with Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen in place of Svechnikov.
Brind’Amour’s “spread the wealth” approach paid off almost immediately, however, with Niederreiter scoring the Canes’ first goal of the season. Barely four minutes into the game, Aho burst down the wing and drew three defenders to him, then slid a pass across to Niederreiter, who beat Greiss with a slick finish to make it 1-0.
First goal of the season goes to Nino Niederreiter. Sebastian Aho sheds the defender and finds Niederreiter wide open. Great finish, 1-0 Hurricanes. pic.twitter.com/2NMgtZJ7DV— Brett Finger (@brettfinger) January 15, 2021
That early goal seemed to give the Canes a big boost throughout the period. They only took the 1-0 edge to the intermission, but Carolina was clearly the better team through 20. The Hurricanes were physical and fast, and picked up numerous scoring chances throughout the opening frame, hemming Detroit into its defensive zone for lengthy stretches.
The Canes nearly made it 2-0 late in the frame on a great pass from Martin Necas, but Svechnikov could not quite get a clean one-timer off the bouncing puck.
The Canes got the first look at their power-play early in the second period, but despite some crisp puck movement and point-blank chances for Necas and Jordan Staal to end it, could not convert.
Following a Hurricanes’ penalty kill late in the second period, things got chippy, as after Red Wings forward Sam Gagner hit Staal along the boards, Dougie Hamilton stepped up for his teammate and dropped the gloves, getting the better of the exchange.
Dougie Hamilton and Sam Gagner drop the gloves.— Brett Finger (@brettfinger) January 15, 2021
Yes, you read that correctly.
Gagner laid a big hit on Jordan Staal in front of the Canes bench, and Hamilton intervened. pic.twitter.com/YyJMofFujh
The top line of Aho, Niederreiter and Teravainen had a great first game and had another strong chance to start the third period, but Greiss turned away Tervainen. The trio combined for three points and 12 shots on goal.
A pair of Detroit penalties late in the game gave Carolina a chance to put the game away, and they finally capitalized with 2:28 left when Dzingel tipped home a point shot from Jake Gardiner to make it 2-0.
Jake Gardiner's point shot gets deflected in front by Ryan Dzingel. A power play goal late in the third period gives the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead on opening night in Detroit. pic.twitter.com/67JjeuSOf9— Brett Finger (@brettfinger) January 15, 2021
Svechnikov then salted it away with a long-distance empty netter.
Andrei Svechnikov, from the parking lot, caps off a 3-0 Hurricanes win over the Red Wings on opening night. pic.twitter.com/LHd3EK6pWi— Brett Finger (@brettfinger) January 15, 2021
The Hurricanes will be back in action in Detroit Saturday for game two of eight against their new Central Division foe.