With only an overtime loss point for their effort in round versus Detroit on Monday, the stakes were even higher for the rematch on Tuesday. The game would be Detroit’s third in 3 days, which I think played into the story and helped the Hurricanes get the win that they desperately needed.
Recap of Hurricanes 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings
The Hurricanes actually started a bit slow. Detroit slowed the Hurricanes early with their forecheck but really did not get much from it. At the midway point of the first period, the shots on goal totals were 3 to 1 in favor of Detroit. But just after the midway point, a Derek Ryan drop pass and the Lee Stempniak shot that followed beat Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard to put the Canes up 1-0. As has been common this season, the Hurricanes got a boost of energy FROM scoring a goal instead of to get a goal. The Stempniak goal seemed to switch the Hurricanes to ‘on’, and they never looked back. At the tail end of a strong puck possession shift in the offensive zone, Joakim Nordstrom found a rebound on a Brett Pesce shot to put the Hurricanes up 2-0. The first period would finish with that score and with an 11 to 4 shots advantage despite the slow start.
An underlying story was that Detroit seemed to spend whatever fumes they had left early. When that did not yield anything productive, the rest of the game seemed sluggish for the Red Wings. When Jordan Staal beat Jimmy Howard short side in the second period, the game seemed to be and ultimately was in hand.
The third period did see Detroit score to get within 2 goals at 3-1, but they never got closer and never really pressured the Hurricanes. An Elias Lindholm power play goal late put the game away.
The game was everything the Hurricanes could ask for. First and foremost, the Canes got the 2 points which is the only thing that really matters. But there were also a few bonuses. The Hurricanes had a night off from the tension of close games, got Cam Ward back into the mix successfully and also were able to balance ice time to save as much energy as possible for the 3 games remaining this week.
‘What I’m watching’ follow up
If you missed the game preview and want to catch up, you can find it HERE.
1) Can the Hurricanes and Bill Peters right the ship in terms of staying within themselves?
When Detroit did pressure Carolina a bit early in the game, the home team held up better than the night before. That said, I am not sure holding up against a worn out Red Wings team was a top-level test. They are likely to see that in the next few games.
2) Cam Ward
Significantly, Ward did not make any mistakes early when the game was still to be decided, and he did the work handed to him on a light night.
3) Leaders rising up
The rotating rounds of heroes continued. Jeff Skinner has been scoring like mad and has been a top player offensively in many games. Eddie Lack found a higher gear and carried the mail in net for awhile. On Monday, Justin Faulk’s heroics at least netted the Hurricanes a point. And on Tuesday, it was Jordan Staal’s turn. He has not been as busy on the score sheet as some other players, but he has generally been steady. He only had 1 scoring point, his second period goal, on Tuesday but also played his usual solid 2-way game keeping Zetterberg’s line quiet.
Lee Stempniak: He is quietly building a solid season as a secondary scorer and veteran presence. The first goal is always huge in games like this, so credit to Stempniak for relieving pressure midway through the first period.
Derek Ryan: He too has been playing well and regularly chipping in offense. Tonight it was the primary assist on the all-important first goal by Stempniak.
The scoreboard: Boston won, so nothing was gained on the team sitting in the #8 spot. But in using up their game in hand versus the Islanders and Lightning with a win, the Hurricanes tied the Isles and pulled within a point of the Lightning (no games in hand against either now).
Next up is game 3 of 4 at home this week against Columbus on Thursday.