Hurricanes get first win in Detroit since 1989
DETROIT -- Even though the Carolina Hurricanes had already been eliminated from playoff contention, they didn’t like the way they finished their home season on Thursday night.
So, goaltender Cam Ward made 28 saves and Carolina held on for a 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena on Friday night.
The Hurricanes lost 5-2 to the Washington Capitals on Thursday night in Carolina’s final home contest of the season.
“Was kind of disgusted with our performance last night and wanted to play a better game,” said Hurricanes center Elias Lindholm, who scored the winning goal.
It was the franchise’s first win in Detroit since Nov. 14, 1989, when they were the Hartford Whalers.
“That’s funny. We had an optional game-day skate and (assistant coach) Rod Brind‘Amour told us about that,” Ward said. “You feel good that we were able to erase that record and come up with a win.”
The Red Wings had already clinched their 23rd consecutive playoff appearance.
Left winger Jiri Tlusty scored for Carolina (35-35-11).
“It was a sound effort. We needed to respond after the way we lost last night,” Hurricanes captain Eric Staal said.
Center Riley Sheahan had the goal for Detroit (38-28-15) in its final home game of the season. Goaltender Jimmy Howard stopped 17 shots.
“I don’t think we had much intensity through two periods. I thought we had a good push, but the reality is we weren’t good enough,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We had tons of chances. Their goaltender was good, but we didn’t play right. When you don’t play hard enough, you don’t play right, you don’t win. As a group we weren’t good enough.”
Detroit was coming off a playoff-clinching 4-3 shootout loss in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.
Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall admitted the team suffered a letdown on Friday night.
”Yeah, but it shouldn’t be. You can’t be satisfied,“ he said. ”Sure, it felt great the other day, no doubt. It was kind of a weird feeling. We didn’t win the game but we did accomplish something we were thriving for.
“At the same time we wanted to get to the next (playoff) spot, see how high we could get in the standings before starting the playoffs. Tonight wasn’t a very good performance the first two periods. I thought we got playing better in the third, but we’ve got to play more than 20 minutes to win games.”
Detroit is in the last (eighth) playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
It was the next-to-last regular-season game for both teams.
Ward made an outstanding skate save on left winger Justin Abdelkader’s one-timer from the bottom of the right circle with 9:32 left after Abdelkader took a pass from center Pavel Datsyuk on a two-on-one rush.
Sheahan’s power-play goal 3:43 into the third period put the Red Wings on the board and made it 2-1. He sent in his own rebound on the second try off a goal-mouth scramble for Sheahan’s eighth goal of the season.
Detroit defenseman Jakub Kindl knocked the puck out of the air and out of the crease area as it was about to go in the net behind Howard midway through the second period.
Ward used a poke check to foil Detroit right winger Thomas Jurco on a breakaway 2:14 into the second period.
Carolina led 2-0 after the first period.
Linholm opened the scoring with a power-play goal 8:15 into the game. He beat Howard with a forehand from below the bottom of the left circle after taking a pass with his back to the goalie alongside the net. It was Linholm’s ninth goal of the season.
Tlusty made it 2-0 with his 16th goal of the season with 1:36 left in the opening period when he put in a rebound.
NOTES: Carolina right winger Alexander Semin didn’t play because of an upper-body injury and is likely out for Friday’s season finale in Philadelphia. ... Detroit ends the season in St. Louis on Sunday afternoon. ... Detroit G Jonas Gustavsson was not in uniform on Friday night because of a sore shoulder. Petr Mrazek was called up from the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins to back up Howard. ... Carolina LW Nathan Gerbe, who returned after missing a game with an upper-body injury, is from the Detroit suburb of Oxford. ... Red Wings C and captain Henrik Zetterberg, who underwent back surgery in February, is not expected to return until the second round of the playoffs, if Detroit makes it that far. ... Hurricanes assistant coach Dave Lewis is a former head coach, assistant coach and player with Detroit. ... Carolina goaltending coach Greg Stefan played with the Red Wings for his entire NHL career (1981-90).