‘We found a way’: Red Wings rally for 4-3 overtime victory over Carolina

Detroit News

Detroit —  So Saturday you had a deluge of goals, little defense, and shoddy goaltending, all from both teams.

And fans loved the craziness, all the goals.

Tuesday, the Red Wings played more of a real hockey game, much less fireworks and big plays, but the result was likely fine with Wings’ fans — a 4-3 overtime victory over the Eastern Conference leading Carolina Hurricanes.

Lucas Raymond batted in a loose puck into the net on the power play, Raymond’s 16th goal, with eight seconds left in overtime, rallying the Red Wings to the victory.

The overall defense the Wings were missing in the 10-7 loss against Toronto, it showed  up against the Hurricanes. The competitiveness was there, and the Wings arguably were the better team more of the evening.

“It was much-needed (the victory),” coach Jeff Blashill said. “Certainly it tells us something (about the team’s character), we needed to get our confidence back and the only way to get it back is by going out against a real good team and winning, and we did that. It wasn’t an easy game to win but we found a way to win a tight game, which was important.”

After an ugly game defensively a few nights earlier, the Wings were much more structured and tight against Carolina.

“We defended pretty well,” Blashill said. “We competed extremely hard. They’re a good team for a reason, they have a good record, but our compete level was really good. We created against a good defensive team and we defended pretty well.”

Jordan Staal gave the Hurricanes a 3-2 lead at 16:12 of the third period, his sixth goal. Staal put back a backhand rebound in the slot past goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic, seemingly snuffing a Wings’ chance for victory.

BOX SCORE: Red Wings 4, Hurricanes 3 (OT)

But the Wings rallied 38 seconds later, with Dylan Larkin tying the game with his 27th goal.

Vladislav Namestnikov knocked the puck loose from a Hurricanes defender. Carolina defenseman Brady Skjei failed to clear the puck, and Larkin got possession, skated through the slot, and backhanded a shot past goalie Antti Raanta at 16:50.

“Larks had some good pressure on their guy and made him hesitate and he’s a good player, he’s going to find a way to score if you give him a lot of chances throughout the night,” said said Nedeljkovic, who stopped 27 shots to defeat his former team. “We worked hard and we earned our chances. We got the puck out of our end, we won 50-50 battles.

“That’s a game we can build off. We were good from start to finish. Even though they got the first goal we responded well and stuck with it and just kept battling. We got a few bounces and capitalized on them. That’s what we’re going to need moving forward.”

The Red Wings moved back to .500 (24-24-6) with the victory, and ended a two-game losing streak.

More: Red Wings strive to improve defense: ‘We haven’t been good enough’

Michael Rasmussen scored his eighth goal at 2:45 of the third period, breaking a 1-1 tie. Rasmussen took an outlet pass from Jordan Oesterle, got by a Carolina defender, and snapped a shot that surprised Raanta. It was also Rasmussen’s second goal in two games, giving the Wings a spark from the bottom-six forwards.

But the Hurricanes came right back to tie the game. Jesper Fast’s shot in the slot appeared to bound off a stick, or two, and got past Nedeljkovic at 7:06, Fast’s 11th goal.

Nedeljkovic, facing his old Carolina team for the second time this season, beat the Hurricanes for the first time, while only winning his third game in last nine decisions (3-5-1).

“Personally, a win is a win and we’ll take the win right now,” Nedeljkovic said. “It’s been a weird couple of games lately and just happy to get a win and move forward, that’s the biggest thing. I know my game will pick up. I have no doubt I can turn it around. It’s been kind of sloppy lately but I’ll pick it up and I’ll be there when the guys need me.”

Carter Rowney got the Wings back into the game with a game-tying goal.

Rowney was battling at the net with Carolina’s Jordan Staal and somehow got his stick on Sam Gagner’s shot, the puck squirming past Raanta, tying the game 1-1.

It was Rowney’s fourth goal, and second in two games.

Carolina took a 1-0 lead on Sebastian Aho’s first-period power-play goal.

Carolina (37-11-5) saw its five-game win streak come to an end.

More: Red Wings’ Lucas Raymond, Moritz Seider lean on each other during rookie seasons

“They’re a very hard working team and they come to play every single night,” Nedeljkovic said. “It’s not always pretty the way they play the game over there, but we matched it and honestly, we were a little better than them at certain points. We outworked and outhustled them and probably frustrated them.

“That’s the way we’ve got to play going forward.”

Not surprisingly, given the way Saturday’s loss unfolded, Blashill made several tweaks to the Wings’ lineup.

Up front,  Namestnikov was reinserted on the top line with Larkin and Raymond, while Filip Zadina dropped to a line with Joe Veleno and Rasmussen. On defense, Danny DeKeyser and Gustav Lindstrom were healthy scratches, with Troy Stecher (paired with Marc Staal) and Oesterle (with Filip Hronek) returning to the lineup.

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tkulfan

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