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Recap: Hurricanes 4, Red Wings 1-Officially Eliminated From Playoffs, Ending 25 Year Streak

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Three games in three days wear down an already weary Red Wings team.

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

It’s the third game in three days, second of back to back games in Carolina and one that follows an emotional Red Wings victory. A loss, combined with a regulation Boston win/Toronto earning one point officially ends the playoff streak.

Top of mind, Hurricanes goalie Eddie Lack took a hard hit as Athanasiou drove the net on the overtime winning goal last night. It resulted in a frightening scene with Lack laying motionless upward of five minutes as both teams huddled in concerned silence around him.

He was stretchered off, giving a thumbs up exuding a massive cheer from the PNC Arena crowd and massive sigh of relief from the hockey world.

Lack was evaluated at an area hospital and later released with a neck strain, ever in good spirits sustaining his glowing personality.

Also injured on that play? Athanasiou.

It was announced shortly before the game and foreshadowed cryptically by Blashill when Ben Street was an emergency call up for, “an unnamed player who may be banged up.”

As we soon discovered, it was AA, who is coming off back to back overtime goals, diagnosed with an upper body injury. Here’s hoping it’s just a maintenance day.

Get me some damn biscuits. It’s game time (again) in Raleigh.

First Period

Not much to report on so far, other than Mickey Redmond indirectly referring to Eddie Lack’s injury as “a big 10 minute delay”. Um, okay, Mick. Last night, I and a few others lamented how callously Ken and Mick seemed to handle the situation (at least at first). They’re Red Wings broadcasters, we know this, but there seemed to be little deference to the obviously more serious situation. I actually shut the stream off right after the goal confirmation thinking Lack just had the wind knocked out of him or (excuse the cynicism but hind-sight 20/20, was embellishing to get the goal waved off). I’m not a veteran sports broadcaster nor do I have a production crew and I’m not sure if FSD uses spotters, however it’s their job to mold the viewer’s perspective. It just seemed like they could’ve handled it better.

Speaking of not handled well, Danny DeKeyser redirects a shot from Ol’ reliable Lee Stempniak past Howard to make it 1-0 Hurricanes. Just a drop pass to the top of the circle, nice clapper by Stemper but definitely changed direction low.

1-0 Hurricanes Lee Stempniak (at 10:10 from Derek Ryan and Justin Faulk)

Outside of a stray opportunity that rolled on Mantha the knocked away with a hard backcheck by Faulk (he’s the damn terminator), the Red Wings continue to be outclassed in chance and possession. Despite a couple injections into the lineup the Wings look slow and really it’s understandable with the amount of hockey they’ve played.

Slow, like that rebound kicked right out to Nordstrom who is wide open to bury it, making it 2-0 Hurricanes. Good, controlled—this is looks like a power play but it’s not—puck movement along the boards by Carolina, Pesce fires it from the point, fat one off the pad to Nordstrom. It’d help Jimmy if there was someone covering him. This period needs to end in sooner than 4:48.

2-0 Hurricanes Joakim Nordstrom (at 15:12 from Brett Pesce and Teuvo Teravainen)

Penalties

None!

Shots

DET- 4 (lol)

CAR- 11

Trevor Thompson just did an interview with Lack. He sounded and looked great. It’s something else he’s already back in the building giving interviews.

Second Period

Over five minutes in and so far the highlight of the period is Mick chuckling at the name, “Harry Aho”.

Yes Mick, I agree.

Carolina gets a powerplay but it’s negated almost immediately and we’ll have some four on four. Maybe some open ice will act as smelling salts to these teams. Both seem to be going through the motions right now.

HEY! HEY! ZETTERBERG! Almost makes point 900 a vintage beauty as he wakes up the crowd slicing through the defense only to be thwarted by the glovehand of his elderly counterpart, Cam Ward. Though I doubt he’ll go through such a slump, there is a possibility Zetterberg will score his 900th point in his 1,000th career game in the last game at Joe Louis Arena. Like most people, I was feeling dread for Zetterberg. It wasn’t out of disrespect for his career, it was the feeling his 2014 back surgery seemingly doomed his career. He’d show flashes of being the same puck carrier on occasional rushes, but he was considerably slower. In Babcock’s final season and Blashill’s first, he seemed leaned on far too often to lead powerplays and still be the top defensive center. It got to the point it seemed Hank could no longer handle the minutes and was being exposed. Losing Datsyuk, who still served as his occasional sidekick, though less so in the past couple years, seemed like pulling his last crutch. Coming into this season I loved the idea of him as a winger or third line center. Instead he puts his most impressive season since 2013. I’ve been in complete awe of how he’s carried this team, brought along Mantha and shown total grace in the midst of a freefall. Don’t see how you could exit this season with anything but increased respect for him.

The Tortured Bones of Jordan Staal chug down the off-wing and fires one through Howard. Hard to say if that was another one redirected in off Ericsson Jr., I mean, maybe it was that soft, but I want to say it was another puck changing direction. Goodness, THE FLOOR KEEPS FALLING OUT, even when I kind of expect it, it doesn’t hurt any less.

3-0 Hurricanes Jordan Staal (at 13:36 from Matt Tennyson and Klas Dahlbeck)

(Yawn and Stretch)

Fini, let’s move onto period three.

Penalties

DET- Green (tripping at 5:14)

CAR- Elias Lindholm (holding the stick at 6:18)

Shots

DET- 6 (loooollll)

CAR- 11

Something more important and better than this stupid game happened during the intermission.

We’ll have more coverage here at Winging It in Motown, the Ice Garden and other SB Nation sites.

Third Period

Period opens with a powerplay for Carolina (another Larkin penalty siiiiiigh) and Howard makes one of the best saves of the season. Stempniak and Rask play pitch and catch until Rask fires it point blank and Howard robs him stupid with the glove. Unreal that they had that much time and that easy of a chance then Howard makes that save.

Ken and Mick throw some shade at the quiet PNC Arena crowd and Hurricane fans. Who can blame them? Minutes ago I was woken by the terrible nightmare that it was 2020 and Abdelkader was still under contract for four more seasons. I understand they’ve had attendance issues for a while. It sucks. I recently attended a game there and it was a good experience—good arena, though I didn’t get to try any mac n’ cheese pizza. The Canes have one of the most exciting young rosters in hockey and I believe are a goaltender and season or two more of marinating away from being a solid contender. I’d love to be a Hurricanes fan right now.

Larkin shook up after being ridden heavily into the boards again. What a surprise, Larkin being brutalized. Poor kid has to get a bit more size on him. Has too. Or else he’s never going to develop into what we thought he was going to be.

And Tomas Nosek has his first career goal off a backboard rebound from Drew Miller! Awesome stuff for Nosek who I’ve liked a lot in his sporadic stints with the Wings. I believe—similar to Sheahan before he went into his historic slump—that Nosek uses his size well around the net and can physically grind down opponents. He looked especially strong against Buffalo and fell short of a couple goals. I’m happy for him and see him with a promising future IN THE BOTTOM SIX, JEFF. LET’S NOT PUT HIM ON THE POWERPLAY AND “EXPERIMENT” WITH HIM ON LARKIN’S LINE NEXT SEASON, JEFF.

Hurricanes 3, Red Wings 1 Nosek (at 13:33 from Miller and Street)

Nice, the line with the American League player was able to finally break through the malaise Carolina put on the Wings, control a shift and help set up a goal. I guess Ben Street had an assist on the goal too.

Hurricanes go to a powerplay off a Russo penalty. They make relatively quick and easy work on this one as a loose puck squirts out to Lindholm. Again, too easy, Jimmy left to fend for himself all alone out front. This team sux.

Hurricanes 4, Red Wings 1 Elias Lindholm (at 17:22 from Seb Aho and Justin Faulk)

Shots

DET- 10 (there ya go, kids!)

CAR- 12

Penalties

DET- Larkin (hooking at :38), Russo (interference at 16:59)

CAR- Tennyson (holding at 10:31)

Final Thoughts

I can call it with this game. The Red Wings 25 season playoff streak is officially over. Sure, it’s been a foregone conclusion for a couple months but now it’s official and you start wondering what June will be like and how empty it will feel. I suppose it’s been fun enough just to say you’re in—part of the party, but the past couple seasons, I’ve kept wondering at what cost? That conflict has occurred most with the 2013 team that got in on the last day with a win over Dallas, then proceeded to shock the hockey world with an upset over Anaheim before blowing a 3-1 series lead (and a 2-1 third period lead in game 6 at home) to the Blackhawks. What do you do with a season like that in the context of what we’re currently going through? It shows both sides. I wouldn’t trade the memories of the season for anything. However it gave management false hope for extending the streak and gave Holland a pass on what was disastrous off-season signing Stephen Weiss, Jordin Tootoo, Carlo Colaiacovo and bringing back Mikael Samuelsson (who did score in game 7 vs. the Duck FWIW). But 2013 beget the clump of oatmeal that was the 2014 season and just, you know, this has been a slow death march to this point. You have to have some sort of plan, some sort of foundation and process. Not really sure what it is for this organization moving forward. When they publicly talk of a “Build It and They Will Come” philosophy in the media, I’m deeply concerned. Because that’s not showing any interest in foundation or process. Now that we’re officially in post-mortem, it’s fair to loudly call this into question. Good thing an exceptional blogger on this fine website has a plan and process he wants to implement. If you somehow have not read it yet, please do.

Anyway, thanks for the 25 years, Wings. I vividly remember 23 of them and like 7 of them were cool.