Nino Niederreiter and Sebastian Aho both tallied goals, but it just wasn’t the Canes’ night in the Little Caesars Arena.
Here are some takeaways from Tuesday’s loss:
Lapses in discipline prove costly
The big difference in the game was a pair of first-period penalties that proved costly for the Canes, as Detroit scored two of its three goals (apart from the empty netter) on the man advantage in the opening frame.
The Red Wings’ power play was really good in the first period, with two goals, a 14-0 advantage in Corsi For and just general domination against a Canes’ PK that had been really good of late. Carolina’s PK was better in the second and third periods, but it was the first-period man advantage opportunities for the Red Wings that proved costly.
“We didn’t win the special teams war. We gave up those two early,” said head coach Rod Brind’Amour. “That’s hard to come back from when you give up two early on the penalty kill...That’s the game right there. We had our looks. Five on five, I thought we were fine. We didn’t give up a lot, but you can’t give up two on the penalty kill and win very many games in this league.”
The penalties that led to the power-play goals for the Red Wings were interference by Haydn Fleury and roughing by Cedric Paquette, as Carolina’s discipline failed it in the early minutes of the game. The Canes got off to a great start with a Nino Niederreiter power-play tally of his own, but they let Detroit get right back into it with the penalties.
“It certainly wasn’t a lack of effort,” Brind’Amour said. “There was a couple penalties I’d like to have back. We don’t want to take those because that’s what can’t happen. You can’t give up goals that way. So, that’s the difference in the game.”
Not James Reimer’s best
Tuesday’s loss to the Red Wings snapped a four-game winning streak in net for James Reimer, who certainly did not have his best game.
Reimer saved 24 of 27 shots faced, but really didn’t look comfortable between the pipes all night. While two of Detroit’s goals came on the power play and two came from high-danger chances, Reimer still would definitely like to have them back.
On the Red Wings’ opening goal, Reimer couldn’t smother the puck on a pretty weak shot from Filip Zadina. The rebound was a long one and found the stick of Adam Erne, who slotted it home. It was one of five shots for the Red Wings in the game that came off rebounds.
Detroit’s second tally was another pretty weak effort from a stickless Reimer, who didn’t have a chance on an Erne goal through his five hole.
To be fair to Reimer, this loss absolutely wasn’t completely on him. While he definitely could have made some saves on the goals he gave up, he also didn’t exactly have great help from his defense and two of the goals came on the power play. Reimer isn’t to blame, but it also wasn’t his best outing to say the least.
Dougie Hamilton’s active night
Carolina defenseman Dougie Hamilton was a big positive for the Canes Tuesday, as he extended his point streak to nine games with a secondary assist on Sebastian Aho’s second-period tally.
Apart from the assist, Hamilton put a career-high 11 shots on goal, leading the Canes by a wide, wide margin. He had a game-high CF% of 85, while also leading Carolina with 0.39 expected goals. He was active in the offensive game and solid on the defensive side.
Hamilton didn’t have necessarily his typical start in the points column, but he’s really come along strong in February and March. Tuesday’s game was another productive one for him.
Taking stock at the halfway point
Tuesday’s game was Carolina’s 28th of the season, as the Canes are officially at the halfway point of their 2021 schedule now. So how are things going? In short, very well.
The Hurricanes are currently third in the Central Division, just one point behind both the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers with the same amount of games played.
All of that considering the Canes had an early COVID pause, have been missing starting goalie Petr Mrazek for most of the season and Teuvo Teravainen for awhile (as well as Vincent Trocheck now), and that’s pretty great.
There’s 28 games before the playoffs, and the Canes are sitting pretty.