The Red Wings fell to the Carolina Hurricanes Friday night for their first loss of the season. Last Saturday, although outplayed by the Canes, the Wings held on for a 4-3 win, despite being outshot 47-19 in the game.
Detroit turned the puck over a total of eight times to Carolina’s one, as the Wings could not find sustained success throughout the night.
“I think we just got to lessen the turnovers, get the puck in the o-zone,” said forward Riley Sheahan. “We have such a good offensive team. I think once we got it in their zone, we’re good at cycling around. It’s just a matter of getting there. We had a few too many turnovers, lost battles at the bluelines and in the neutral zone, so we got to work on taking that out.”
Brock McGinn scored his first career goal on his team’s first shot in the game’s first minute. After taking the initial shot, he corralled the rebound and found the back of the net.
In the second period, the Hurricanes cashed in on a Jonathan Ericsson penalty. On a set passing play, captain Eric Staal found offensive blueliner Justin Faulk for a one-timer as Detroit was unable to block the passing lanes.
Three minutes later, Staal scored for himself as he managed to pull the puck back on a rebound to slide the puck past the leg of Jimmy Howard.
In the second half of the middle period, the Red Wings found life, in the form of a Gustav Nyquist wrist shot.
Henrik Zetterberg began the quick breakout with a no-look backhand pass to Nyquist, who led a 2-on-1, but finished the play on his own.
1:12 later, Tomas Tatar took a shot which was saved by Cam Ward. Ward was quick with the blocker, but Sheahan was waiting for the rebound, which he deftly lifted past the veteran netminder on the backhand.
However, all momentum was lost when Canes forward Kris Versteeg restored the two-goal lead early in the final stanza. Versteeg was uncovered as defenseman Brendan Smith scrambled to the slot. Receiving a quick pass from behind Howard, he one-timed it past Howard.
They added a fifth goal, which was the result of an odd play in which the puck deflected off Canes forward Chris Terry and subsequently off of Wings forward Brad Richards. No shot was taken, but a goal nonetheless.
In the same minute, Teemu Pulkkinen brought his team back to within one. Dylan Larkin took a far shot, which was deflected by the Finnish forward.
5-3 would be the final score. Detroit again was outshot by a large margin, this time 36-20.
The team attempted to pinpoint the problem.
“I think for us to be successful we’ve got to be consistent and play all three periods the same way and tonight we kind of put our foot on the pedal and then we’d take it off, and put it back on, take it off, so it’s just something we got to work on, just being a little more consistent,” said Sheahan.
“They played a lot harder than us,” said Howard. “I think, you know, in the second period we got it going a little bit. We got the momentum, got two quick goals there, played really good in the end of the second. And then you give up that fourth and fifth one. It takes the wind out of your sails.”
In the two games, Carolina has outshot Detroit by a total of 83-39.
“For whatever reason, the two games against them so far, they’ve been on their toes more than we’ve been on our toes,” said coach Jeff Blashill. “They’ve had a greater edge in the skating department. They’ve outskated us in the two games, and that’s something we have to look at as a coaching staff to make sure that the next time we play them that doesn’t happen again.”
Detroit falls to 3-1-0, while the win was Carolina’s first of the season.