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Wings Let One Slip Against Depleted Canes, 5-3

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

First Period

Well, the Wings basically started on the penalty kill and the Canes welcomed Nedeljkovic back in the building by scoring just before Bertuzzi’s penalty expired. 1-0 Carolina. Good start against a team that can’t ice a full roster.

Zadina picked Ethan Bear’s pocket off a faceoff and got dumped in the crease before he could get a shot on Frederik Andersen, so Detroit would get their turn at the man-advantage. Detroit looked good and get some shots, but you don’t get points for style in this league, so Carolina retained their lead...

Except no! On a dump in immediately after the penalty expired, Detroit was able to capitalize and get a fortunate bounce behind Carolina’s net. Gagner scooped up the puck, brought it in front of Andersen and floated it high above the kneeling netminder to make it a 1-1 Tie!

Carolina would strike back just as fast, though, as Carolina gained possession and cycled in Detroit’s zone, the defenseman sent a puck high and bounced off the boards behind Ned, and none other than Tony shucking DeAngelo got the big rebound and shot it past two passively watching Wings to make it 2-1 Carolina. Erne, in particular, got stranded in no man’s land.

Gagner did his best to equalize on numerous occasions and at one point had something like three of Detroit’s eight shots. Love to see the fire in the old man (lol I think he’s the same age as me) and find the quiet areas of the ice to get shots.

The Wings would indeed get the equalizer late in the period thanks to Raymond grabbing up a loose puck in Detroit’s zone off a rebound and pitching it overhead to a streaking Dylan Larkin. The center found his way behind the Carolina defenders and zoomed in on Andersen, then with a quick wrister knotted the game up again 2-2 Tie!

Minutes later, Jordan Oesterle nearly gave Detroit their first lead on a play similar to DeAngelo’s goal, but the Red Wings defender drilled iron. A shame, because he’d had a nice period up to that point.

And then of course some dude scored a goal against Detroit in their first NHL game. 3-2 Carolina.

Score: 3-2 Carolina
Shots: 17-13 Carolina
Stand Ups: Zadina, Gagner, Larkin, Oesterle
Sit Downs: Erne, Team Defensive Play, Penalty Kill

Second Period

I was a little surprised to see Nedeljkovic out there again, not because he looked terrible in the first, but because he didn’t look particularly sharp and Detroit needed a wake up on defense. Detroit still didn’t look any better, though, giving up several shots in the early minutes of the period.

Overall, though, this period was much, much quieter through the halfway mark than the first. Lots more neutral zone play, and as the period dragged on, Detroit even started to look like the better team for the first time all game. A lot of the best play ran through Raymond. I’ve been hesitant to get too excited about him just because I’m shy about jumping on band wagons, but he has been convincing me that he will be the best player on this team in short order (well, unless Seider has something to say about that.)

In one of the stranger moments I’ve seen in a game in a while, a goal was called about a dozen seconds after it actually crossed the line. Similarly to Detroit’s first goal, the Wings caused chaos behind the net with a loose puck and Bertuzzi stretched out and wrapped the puck around and slipped it around Andersen. Andersen kicked the puck out immediately, too fast for the refs to see, but the NHL offices in Toronto signaled the horn and for the third time tonight, we had a Tie Game, 3-3.

Detroit would get the opportunity late in the period to take the lead with the power play, but again, the power play looked good but couldn’t convert. Little bit of bad luck, really. Erne had a good opportunity late and couldn’t quite convert.

Carolina pushed a bit in the final minute, but overall good work by Detroit in the second to tighten things up after a few sloppy opening minutes. Not bad, considering how the first period went.

Score: 3-3 Tie
Shots: 25-22 Carolina
Stand Ups: Raymond, Bertuzzi, Erne, Defensive Adjustments
Sit Downs: Power Play

Third Period

Aaaand all those positive feelings got flushed away 18 seconds into the third as Nino Niederreiter scored his second of the night to make it 4-3 Carolina.

Detroit continued to return to first-period form throughout the third with lots of sloppy giveaways and a distinct inability to calm the puck down. Granted, there were a lot of bouncing pucks that indeed needed to be calmed down thanks to Carolina lobbing pucks deep in Detroit’s end at every opportunity they could get in an attempt to slow the game down and keep Detroit on their back foot.

If there was more to say I’d say it, but throughout most of the period Carolina did their best to just turn the neutral zone into mud. Trap hockey at its finest.

Detroit started to hit the scoring effects a little too late for my tastes, at four minutes left, and of course who else but Gagner had the best opportunity to score during the initial push.

Ned headed to the bench with two minutes remaining, but a faceoff ended up outside the zone so Detroit really only got 90 seconds of 6-on-5, effectively. Bertuzzi got a great opportunity to equalize but couldn’t seal the deal. With about 30 seconds left, Carolina iced the puck and Blashill called the timeout to give his top unit time to rest.

In an interesting move, Gagner took the next draw. Good move, since he won it. The puck got forced out, though, Teravainen scored the empty netter, good game and good night, folks.

Score: 5-3 Carolina
Shots: 34-26 Carolina
Stand Ups: Gagner, Larkin for planting DeAngelo
Sit Downs: Ugh, I don’t know. Most everybody gets a C-.

Conclusion

I think this is probably the first time I’m going on record as saying I wasn’t thrilled with the adjustments (or lack thereof) made by Blash throughout the game. They lost the game by losing two periods. Detroit needed to press harder earlier in the third and resort to more dump-and-chase to break up Carolina’s trap play. Despite Carolina’s sizeable blueliners, Detroit did outplay them behind their net during several stretches of the game.

I’m not hoisting this one solely at the feet of the coach, though. Most of the Wings had inconsistent games where each good moment could be countered by a bad one. I was not particularly happy with the reffing standard and I felt Carolina got away with a lot. Still, I’m tired of losing to teams that can’t skate full squads.

And on the other hand, Carolina is a darn good team this year, and big picture maybe we ought not get too upset about our Red Wings losing to this team.

Still, losing sucks. See you Saturday for the Devils.