Hurricanes use second-period boost to hand Wings third straight loss

Detroit News

The Red Wings made it a struggle for the Carolina Hurricanes once again, one final time, but this time it didn’t produce a victory.

The Hurricanes defeated the Wings, 3-1, on Thursday, salvaging a split of the eight-game season series between the teams.

Go figure. That would be Carolina (33-10-7), with the most points (73) in the NHL, and, well, the Red Wings (17-26-9). But the Wings more than held their own against Carolina, winning just as much as they lost against the division leaders.

BOX SCORE: Hurricanes 3, Red Wings 1

But two second-period Carolina goals, then a big Teuvo Teravainen goal in the third period clinched it for the Hurricanes.

Jakub Vrana scored a highlight-reel goal and goaltender Jonathan Bernier made 28 saves for the Wings.

Brady Skjei and Warren Foegele had those second-period Hurricanes goals, and goalie James Reimer stopped 16 shots.

The Hurricanes are heading into playoffs with loads of confidence, and more experienced depth than they’ve had the past few seasons. Carolina also likes to pressure all over the ice, but the Wings did a good job of countering that this season.

“They’re a team that wants to tilt the ice. They want to play in your end and if you spend a bunch of time in your end, you’re in trouble,” coach Jeff Blashill said after Thursday’s morning skate. “When you get a puck against Carolina, that puck better get out (of the zone) and if it stays in your end, they feed off that and they really get you kind of swimming in your own end.

“When we’ve had some success, we’ve done a good job of being quicker in our end. We’ve done a good job of getting pucks out and done a good job of playing in their end.”

The Hurricanes have been eliminated two consecutive years by the Boston Bruins (in the East finals two years ago) but Carolina won’t see Boston until the third round, if either team gets that far, this season in the redrawn divisions.

But Blashill has a lot of respect for the Hurricanes.

“They’re a really good hockey team, obviously one of the best in the league,” Blashill said. “Over the last couple of years they’ve really increased their forward skill and depth to where they have a real an elite group of forwards, an elite group of defensemen, and all their goalies have played well.”

The highlight for the Wings in this game was Vrana’s beautiful goal in the second, cutting the Carolina lead to 2-1.

Vrana jumped onto the ice and swiped the puck from Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho near the blue line, then skated down the slot.

With no Hurricanes near him, Vrana went to his backhand as Reimer was left to fend defenseless. Vrana casually flipped the puck over the goaltender for Vrana’s sixth goal with the Wings (17th total including Washington).

After a scoreless first period the Hurricanes — who haven’t lost in regulation time in nine games, 6-0-3 — broke free early in the second period.

Skjei opened the scoring at 4:40 of the second period. He jumped onto the ice and caught the trailing pass from Aho entering the zone.

Skeji faked around one Wings’ defender and wristed a shot past Bernier for Skeji’s third goal.

After each team failed on a power play, the Hurricanes extended the lead to 2-0 on Foegele’s goal.

Foegele intercepted a pass from Troy Stecher, went hard to the net and was stopped by Bernier. But Foegele stayed with it, even with Wings defenders around him, got to the puck and put back the rebound for Foegele’s 10th goal, at 13:29.

The Wings, ravaged by injuries to goal-scoring forwards Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi, Robby Fabbri and Bobby Ryan, have won once in their last seven games (1-3-3). The Wings have only scored more than two goals once in those seven games, a 7-3 victory over Dallas.

The Wings host Tampa for two games Saturday and Sunday, then conclude the season next weekend, Friday and Saturday, in Columbus.

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tkulfan

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