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About Last Night: Canes fall to Wings as Nedeljkovic defeats former team

The Carolina Hurricanes were shut out by their former netminder Thursday night, as Alex Nedeljkovic blanked the Canes in a 3-0 Red Wings victory.

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Hurricanes missed out on an opportunity to extend their lead over the New York Rangers in the Metro Thursday night, as they fell 3-0 to the Detroit Red Wings primarily at the hands of their former goaltender, Alex Nedeljkovic.

Let’s take a look at last night’s loss:

The goals wouldn’t come

Offensively, the Canes looked like a powerhouse last night. They had plenty of high-danger chances, and if you were to tune into the game without seeing the score, you’d surely think the Canes had a substantial lead throughout most of the game.

Instead, they got shut out.

“It just felt like we were getting chance after chance,” said Rod Brind’Amour. “Like you say, it just didn’t work out.”

It was all thanks to the former Hurricane in net last night, Nedejkovic. He carried Detroit to a shutout win, stopping all 46 SOG that the Canes sent his way. He was able to prevent 20 high-danger chances from the Canes last night. This was his second victory of the season over his former team, and it may have had some fans (including myself) itching to have him back on the Hurricanes side of the ice, at least for one night.

“Obviously we’ve seen that he can steal games,” said Jordan Martinook. “It felt like we definitely had enough chances to score a couple. So yeah, tip your cap. He was good. I thought we created a lot and just couldn’t get one by him.”

He’s incredibly fun to watch, and was loved by the team and fans during his tenure. Canes goaltender Antti Raanta was not able to hold up as well on Thursday, allowing three goals on 21 SOG.

Power play struggles

The Carolina power play continued to struggle last night, unable to capitalize on three man-advantage opportunities. This was the seventh consecutive game without a power play goal for the Canes, and it’s becoming a real issue as we inch nearer to playoff time.

“That first unit needs to be way better,” Brind’Amour said. “The second unit is fine. They got in and did their stuff, and had a couple chances. It’s just a lot of turnovers for no reason. It’s just weird things that we’ve been doing. So, we definitely need to be working on that, or at least talking about it. It’s tough to get a lot of practice time right now. But that’s an area where we have to get better.”

Even as the power play improved as they gained more chances, the shots weren’t falling their way— and they haven’t been. This is truly a cause for concern, and the Canes will need to figure out how to fix their struggles before the regular season concludes.

“Obviously they defended very well today, so you’ve got to tip your cap to them,” said Sebastian Aho. “But at the same time, there’s no reason to panic or anything but learn from these and be a little bit sharper when we get enough chances.”

What’s next?

The Canes only have seven games remaining in the regular season, and the next game is up against one of the best in the league— the Colorado Avalanche.

The Carolina Hurricanes (48-19-8) have faced the Colorado Avalanche (53-14-6) once before this season, and it resulted in a 2-0 win for the Canes. This matchup will serve just as important of a purpose, as a win here will give the Canes a much-needed confidence boost heading into the postseason and a clear opportunity to see how they stand against arguably the best team in the league.

It will likely be Freddie Andersen in net, which will likely mimic a playoff scenario, so it’ll be an interesting matchup regardless of the result.