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Shorthanded Canes get offense rolling to topple Wings

The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Detroit Red Wings, 5-3, Thursday night at PNC Arena in spite of a shorthanded roster.

Nino Niederreiter celebrates his second goal of the night against the Detroit Red Wings, Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021 in PNC Arena.
Kaydee Gawlik

It was a game that the Carolina Hurricanes could have easily lost and nobody would have batted an eye about or gotten too worked up.

Instead, the Canes dug in and beat the Detroit Red Wings by a final score of 5-3.

The Canes’ last game had been postponed because six of their players had entered COVID-protocol and because of the NHL’s salary cap rules, the Canes would only be able to bring up three players to replace them tonight.

Carolina came into the game without their captain and leading scorers, were two players short of a full on-ice roster, had two players participating in their first games since November 28, and had players playing in both their third ever and first career NHL games.

But despite that, they scored five goals, were perfect on special teams and shutdown the Red Wings’ offense in the final period to secure the two points.

Nino Niederreiter led the way with a two-goal performance, Jack Drury and Andrew Poturalski picked up their first career NHL points and Frederik Andersen turned aside 23 shots.

The game started off fast with the Hurricanes drawing the first power play just 12 seconds in.

The power play featured all new units with multiple key pieces missing, but it was the new second unit that broke the ice. Niederreiter continued his hot streak with a put back on a rebound during the tail end of the man advantage.

Poturalski picked up his first career NHL point as it was his shot on net that eventually found its way to Niederreiter.

But soon after, Sam Gagner fooled Andersen with a turn-and-fire shot from the low circle that went in short-side.

However, the Canes hopped right back on top as Tony DeAngelo activated from the blueline and put home a fortunate bounce off the end boards that had fooled Alex Nedeljkovic.

But then the Red Wings tied it again as Dylan Larkin was sprung on a breakaway which he slid in five-hole.

Then Carolina was in the lead again after Jesperi Kotkaniemi set Drury up with a clean look in the slot which he buried for his first NHL goal in his first NHL game.

And that was all just in the opening twenty minutes.

It was a back and forth period with each side exchanging chances, but the game started to slow down after that hectic pace.

The second period had the Canes back on their heels a bit, but they weren’t breaking.

That was until Andersen thought he had stoned Tyler Bertuzzi’s wraparound chance, but the NHL situation room reviewed the shot as play continued and saw that the puck had indeed fully crossed the goal line before Andersen kicked it back out.

So the game was tied yet again.

The second period was definitely a lull for the Hurricanes, but that was to be expected with the entire situation they were going through.

But the third period had a lot more pep for the Canes and Niederreiter once again put the Hurricanes ahead, this time just 18 seconds into the period.

He was sprung on a rush down the ice and ripped a shot, short-side, that cleanly beat Alex Nedeljkovic.

From there, the Canes played a much tighter game and the team locked it down completely. Vincent Trocheck popped in an empty net goal for good measure and Carolina took home the two points.

The team will continue to fight through the new adversity as they host the LA Kings Saturday, Dec. 18 at 7 p.m.