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Canes come up short; fall in seventh round of shootout

The Carolina Hurricanes fell to the Detroit Red Wings 5-4 in the shootout Saturday night at PNC Arena.

Sebastian Aho is blocked by Detroit Red Wings goalie Thomas Greiss during the shootout, Saturday, Apr. 10, 2021 in PNC Arena. The Canes lost, 5-4.
Kaydee Gawlik

It wasn’t a pretty game by any means for the Carolina Hurricanes in a 5-4 shootout to the Detroit Red Wings Saturday night at PNC Arena.

A combination of rubbish luck and inconsistent play spelled disaster for the Canes who lost yet another game to the bottom ranking Red Wings.

The game started off as one would have originally expected. The talent-laden Hurricanes just enforced their game on the Red Wings, cycling the puck off a steady supply of heavy forechecking and forcing turnovers and within a few minutes, Carolina had the lead.

It was yet again Martin Necas making a high-level play, but one that almost seems routine to him at this point. After Dougie Hamilton held the line and denied a Detroit clearing attempt, Vincent Trocheck collected the puck and got off a cross-ice pass to Necas off his backhand.

The pass wasn’t in Necas’ wheelhouse though, so the quick Czech stuck out his skate and kicked the puck back to his stick, waited and sniped it home far-side to give Carolina the lead.

But the score didn’t end up reflecting the way the game had been going as before the period even hit the halfway mark, the Red Wings were up by one.

Two failed clearing attempts had led to two disjointed plays which in turn led to two goals against.

The first Detroit goal came as a Canes clearing attempt was caught at the blueline and was subsequently shot back in on Mrazek, who deflected it to the wall. The Red Wings won the race to the puck and attempted to put another shot on net.

That shot, however, was deflected by Brady Skjei’s stick though, but it bounced from there right to Filip Zadina who put the puck on net off his backhand where it deflected off Mrazek and then in off of Dylan Larkin’s leg in front.

The second goal was another clearing attempt caught at the blueline as Alex Biega collected it and simply shot it on net where it was deflected in by Anthony Mantha skating right in front of the crease.

Even though Carolina had been controlling play and could have honestly been up by three not even five minutes in, two bad breaks went the other way and then the Canes started to unravel.

However, the team is one that still fights even when their game isn’t at it’s best and it was the steadiest Cane, Jordan Staal, who pulled his team back into the fray.

On the patented Staal move — far-side wrister, coming down the right side — the captain reasserted Carolina’s place in the game.

And the second period had honestly cleaned up a lot more as the Hurricanes gave up a lot less broken chances and started to get a bit of their game going again off of two aggressive penalty kills. It even resulted in Carolina hopping back out with a lead.

After a contested breakaway by Morgan Geekie saw the puck get knocked away to the boards, Hamilton activated into the offensive zone, picked up the puck and took it in close where he beat Greiss with a quick wrister.

And again, the Canes only gave up less odd chances, not all of them. The Hurricanes weren’t going to be allowed to escape another 20 minutes without more misfortune.

The game found its way back into a tie late in the period as Mrazek failed to glove a high shot put towards the net. In the ensuing scramble from that, Mrazek swiped the loose puck out of the crease and it found its way to Staal’s skate. The puck was then kicked back towards Mrazek and it slowly went through the netminder’s five-hole and across the goal line.

The third was really Detroit’s period though. The Hurricanes couldn’t get their skates going nor generate many good looks and the Red Wings were taking advantage of it.

And when the Hurricanes did get a bit going it ended up going the other way.

Jake Gardiner pumped a shot from the blueline that hit Adam Erne in the boot and the Red Wing went up the ice unimpeded and roofed it off the backhand to give Detroit the lead.

But the Canes stuck around.

Even after the potential tying goal by Nino Niederreiter was called off for goalie interference, Aho came back not even a minute later and lasered a shot past Thomas Greiss to take the game to overtime.

And overtime looked like it could have gone Carolina’s way a few different times, but it just wasn’t meant to be tonight.

The shootout made sure though to keep the anxiety building as not only did Andrei Svechnikov score to keep his team alive in the third round — which was good for him after honestly a rough game — but it went all the way to seven rounds, with eventually the Red Wings coming away with the victory as Erne scored to win it.

The Canes will get a chance for revenge Monday at 7 p.m. in Staal’s 1,000th career game.