The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 Thursday night at PNC Arena to finish off the season series and extend their point streak to nine games.
It was a pretty dominant win for the Hurricanes, who with six games remaining, remain in the driver’s seat for control of the division.
It was a night of milestones and returning to form for a few players as the Hurricanes slowly started to bring their anticipated roster back together.
Let’s take a look at a few key takeaways from last night’s game:
Night of Milestones
There were more than a handful of milestones reached when Thursday’s game started.
Andrei Svechnikov and Rod Brind’Amour each reached 200 career games; the former played the latter coached. The only games Svechnikov has missed in his career have come during the playoffs, so for now, he and Brind’Amour are intertwined.
It’s hard to pick just one moment that changed the course of the franchise three years ago, but the Canes have never missed the playoffs with those two in their current positions.
Brett Pesce, perhaps the most underrated part of Carolina’s team, also reached a milestone playing in his 400th career game where he registered a primary assist on the game-winning goal.
The stalwart blueliner has been a reliable cog in the Hurricanes’ defense for years and is arguably the Canes’ most valuable defensive piece.
And there's way more to come pic.twitter.com/bICjyZaHSN— x - Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) April 29, 2021
The final milestone came midway through the third period, as Teuvo Teravainen’s goal and second point of the night was his 300th career NHL point in his 443 game. It was also Teravainen’s fourth multipoint game of the season, despite only having played in 15 total games.
Returning to Form
Teravainen only needed two games to get back on the stat sheet after missing so much time and registered both a goal and an assist en route to the 300th career point milestone.
But there is so much more to Teravainen than what appears on the score sheet. The soft and subtle plays he makes with his positioning, stick and passing are some of the most important catalysts for Carolina’s success.
Controlled exits out of the defensive zone, stretch passes to break out an odd-man rush, poke checks to disrupt an opposing exit and knocking down passes were just a few of what Teravainen brought in his second game back.
Brady Skjei also returned in his first game back from concussion and started off a bit slow, but really found his form as the game went on and even ended up getting the ball rolling for the Canes with the game’s first goal.
Drag, shoot, score pic.twitter.com/HYETLEtG3E— Michael Smith (@MSmithCanes) April 30, 2021
Skjei has been playing at a high level for Carolina for the past month or so and has seen his offensive game resurface as a result.
James Reimer also played really well and finally got the results he deserved after a disappointing showing in front of him in his last few starts.
After the team’s slower start to the first, where Reimer came up with a few Grade-A saves to keep the Canes in it, the game tilted way in Carolina’s favor and the team took care of him the rest of the way by heavily limiting most of the Red Wings’ offense.
With players steadily returning from injuries, the Hurricanes’ lineup is looking as strong as ever.
And that was especially seen with Teravainen’s return is the ripple effect that the top line talent has down the lineup.
With the top-six essentially locked in, the real difficulty will be in the bottom of the lineup but that’s a good problem to have. You have the top-end talent set, so it’s just a matter of who you are going to utilize in the last six spots.
Jesper Fast, Jordan Martinook and Brock McGinn would be assumed to all be locks so long as they are healthy.
But there is a case for most of the lineup too.
Warren Foegele is starting to heat up, Cedric Paquette was brought in to be a physical element come playoff time and Steven Lorentz looks like he belongs.
There is no easy decision to be made, but that’s not to say that guys can’t be cycled around every other game. Brind’Amour has his work cut out for him in deciding how to best deploy his players, but the Canes may finally be afforded the benefits of their depth in having choices going forward.