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Canes split opening series; lose to Wings 4-2

A poor start and sloppy finish shut down any chance the Canes managed to muster.

Carolina Hurricanes v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images

The Carolina Hurricanes split the opening series with the Detroit Red Wings as they fell 4-2 Saturday night.

The Carolina Hurricanes were without captain Jordan Staal due to him being on the NHL’s COVID-19 Protocol list and his absence was felt.

The reason for his appearance on this list can be due to showing symptoms, an unconfirmed test, contact tracing or even a positive case, but as it sits now, we don’t know why Staal was added to the list.

In his place, Morgan Geekie was called up from the taxi squad to center the fourth line sliding Vincent Trocheck and Jordan Martinook up a spot.

The absence of Staal was still sorely felt as the team struggled in the faceoff circle and along the boards, both of the areas where the Canes’ captain excels.

The first period didn’t bode well for the Hurricanes who had a similarly slow start in their last game. Their two power plays resulted in more high danger chances the other way, but Petr Mrazek stood strong to keep his team in the game.

But he could only do so much, as early into the second period, Detroit found the back of the net to break the ice. A turnover behind the Hurricanes’ net coupled with poor positioning led to a quick pass up to the slot where an unmarked Bobby Ryan, in his first game with the Wings, wristed it home.

A late power play for the Hurricanes, wouldn’t find success in the second period, but the carry over into the third was more than enough as Trocheck would deflect the puck in as his body was in the right place to send home an Andrei Svechnikov shot to pull the game even.

However, jubilation was short lived as almost immediately, Dylan Larkin put a puck towards the net that hit Trocheck’s stick, went off of Brady Skjei’s skate and wound up in the net past Mrazek.

After giving up this goal though, the Hurricanes seemed to wake up and play as a completely different team than had started. Players started to pick up the forecheck and physicality and started to move back towards the game that they are known for.

And as if on cue, it was Svechnikov who tied the game back up. Skating through the slot, he collected a pass, turned quickly and while falling, sniped the puck home.

But the Canes’ sloppiness would haunt them again for the final time. With less than five minutes to play, Skjei was penalized for a slash and although Carolina managed to kill it off, the killer’s never managed to get off the ice and Detroit capitalized on tired bodies as Robby Fabbri chipped it in.

Larkin would add a second goal into an empty net to cap off the 4-2 win.

Carolina will continue its road trip opener in Nashville as it begins it’s two game series with the Predators on Monday, Jan. 18.