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Hurricanes downgraded by Red Wings, Nedeljkovic in 3-0 shutout

Tell me if this sounds at all familiar to you:

The Detroit Red Wings look to recover from a series of tough losses. Their opponent? A Stanley Cup-contending team. What could possibly go wrong?

‘If any of this sounds at all familiar to you, it’s because this has been a trend all season long. The results have differed here and there, but the “series of losses” appears to be a constant. Tonight, the Red Wings squared up against one of the Metro division’s toughest opponents: the Carolina Hurricanes.

If facing off against a stacked team wasn’t enough, the game was also broadcast over ESPN, too. No Mick, no Ken, only pain.

But you’re not here to complain. You’re here because you’re a sucker for pain. Well, allow me to lay out every excruciating detail for you, you freaks.

1st period

Oh wow. Five minutes in and the Red Wings have just one single shot. Alex Nedeljkovic had to make a series of grade-A saves right off the bat just to keep the team afloat against this powerhouse. A fun tidbit on the broadcast revealed that both Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond have played every single game this season for the Red Wings. It’s a shock that they’ve managed to shoulder such a huge workload in their first full NHL seasons.

Michael Rasmussen completed a spin-o-rama only to get bodied by a Canes defender. Glad to see the recent hot streak hasn’t stopped him from immediately losing control on the ice! On a lighter note, Jake Walman’s shoot-first mentality has become one of the brightest lights in a shockingly forgettable late season.

Sam Gagner, on his 959th career game, made a few great depth plays to set the Wings up. Unfortunately, they played against a very hungry playoff team on the hunt for a Cup. Games like these require every player to be fully aware of each other. A late (and a little ambiguous) tripping penalty by Jakub Vrana put the Hurricanes on the power play.

The broadcasters interviewed Rod Brind’Amour mid-power play. This is cool conceptually, but in practice, it’s like interviewing a pilot as he focuses on trying to land a plane. Surprisingly, the Red Wings had a very productive penalty kill. At one point, Tyler Bertuzzi had a great breakaway that was stymied by Ethan Bear at the last second.

Nedeljkovic is far and beyond the best player on the team through the first period. Even without a stick, the goaltender managed to stand on his head against a lethal offensive team. Gagner, another standout, stopped a Teuvo Teravainen chance from tipping the scales. Speaking of great chances, Marc Staal bodied another Canes player who had a great opportunity. Gee, if only the Red Wigs could generate opportunities like that.

The Wings closed out the first with just three shots on net to Carolina’s 11. At this point, I shouldn’t be shocked anymore, but alas.

At least the score’s still tied at 0.

2nd period

The second started with a little stronger momentum. from Detroit. Larkin’s near-breakaway and a Rasmussen takeaway showed more life in one minute than the entire first period. The Adam Erne-Mitchell Stephens-Sam Gagner line was, surprisingly, one of the most effective lines through the first half of the game. The three have shown

Nedeljkovic put on a goaltending clinic, putting a stop to a Canes player while sprawled, using his left leg to block a Jesper Fast tip-in. Any doubters of his ability to perform as a starter need to understand that this is his first full NHL season. Growing pains are to be expected, especially when it comes to goaltending.

The broadcasters called Filip Zadina Bertuzzi, so, uh, things are still the same on that end. The teams had to take a quick stop to clean up the ice. Nope, never had that problem in LCA before. Never ever ever.

ANOTHER amazing save from Nedeljkovic stopped an Ethan Bear slapshot from hitting the top of the net. Three subsequent shots left many of the Red Wings players completely baffled, as if they’d never seen a puck before.

Sebastian Aho had a HUGE breakaway opportunity. The hubris of the ESPN announcers (calling it an early 1-0 lead) led to Aho’s downfall as he missed the net. Rasmussen has been a quiet hero in the second, stopping a cross-ice pass from happening in front of Nedeljkovic’s crease. He’s worked wonders with the extra ice time he’s earned. Vrana saw what Aho did and went for the exact same shot, encountering, sadly, the same result.

Hronek almost had a breakaway, too. What in the world is this game?

Far be it from the media to find a way to not talk about the Maple Leafs. According to my source (source: just trust me), the broadcasters talked about Toronto five separate times. This game, for the record, had nothing to do with Toronto.

With just seven minutes left in the period, the Hurricanes led with 22 shots to Detroit’s 10. The only breaths of fresh air Nedeljkovic got to take were near the end of the second, where Mitchell almost scored a wrap-around past Raanta’s skate.

The Red Wings got their first power play after Brett Pesce tripped Bertuzzi. The power play differed from Carolina’s in a lot of ways. First, Jeff Blashill wasn’t interviewed mid-game. Second, “discombobulated” was a more apt term for Detroit’s man advantage. Third (and the most important)…Seider scored late in the second, putting the team up 1-0!

Fun fact: that really nice assist you saw was Larkin’s 69th point. The second ended with the Red Wings up. Now, all they need to do is give Nedeljkovic a break!

3rd period

Within the first minute, the Hurricanes hit 30 shots to the Red Wings’ 14. Carolina was absolutely dominant all game long. Were it not for Ned’s outstanding efforts, the team would likely be leading by a handful of goals by now. If anything, this season has shown how far the Red Wings’ defense has to go in order to be a contender.

Mitchell Stephens gets to the corner, outworks the defender, and passes it to Erne, who makes it a 2-0 game!

Despite Detroit’s lead, the momentum remained much of the same. Barring an occasional chance from Bertuzzi, the majority of the offensive efforts were all Carolina. Marc Staal went to the box after earning a hooking penalty, putting Detroit on their second penalty kill of the night.

Despite their best efforts, the Red Wings did not allow a goal while shorthanded. Whether it was due to the great vibes or the stellar play of Nedeljkovic, nothing could stop the Hurricanes from missing out on their golden opportunity.

As far as bingo cards go, Erne and Seider goals and Nedeljkovic putting aside over three dozen shots was not my first guess. If you liked seeing the Red Wings’ penalty kill unit, you likely loved what happened after this. Danny DeKeyser went off for hooking. Whether that’s a good thing or bad remained to be seen. Filip Hronek went back to clear the puck, only to awkwardly hit Martin Necas in the face. This was more of a product of being at the wrong place at the wrong time than it was out of malice. I was shocked it wasn’t called as a penalty, though.

Rasmussen got a great breakaway chance, but couldn’t finish after getting checked.

Speaking of first rounders on the come-up, FILIP ZADINA MADE IT 3-0 WITH A WICKED SNIPE!

The arena went as quiet as a library after the third. Any pressure Carolina put on perished. A completely dominant effort from Moritz Seider stifled any efforts the Hurricanes had. Despite their 45 shots, they stood no chance against Nedeljkovic, Erne, and Zadina.

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