RALEIGH, N.C. — Alex Nedeljkovic had a much better time in his second game back at his former workplace.
Nedeljkovic stifled the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday at PNC Arena to help the Detroit Red Wings win, 3-0. He made 46 saves to earn his third shutout of the season and start a tough stretch for the Wings on a positive note. The game was the first of six straight against teams jockeying for playoff positioning.
Rookie Moritz Seider scored late in the second period and Adam Erne scored early in the third. Filip Zadina reached 10 goals when he scored just past the halfway point of the third.
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Nedeljkovic, acquired in a trade with the ‘Canes last summer, allowed four goals in a 5-3 loss in his first appearance at PNC Arena in December.
The Wings (29-35-10) next play Saturday at the New York Rangers, then host the Florida Panthers on Sunday in the next-to-last game at Little Caesars Arena.
The Wings finally beat backup goalie Annti Raanta with 12.1 seconds left in the second period. Dylan Larkin carried the puck into the ‘Canes’ zone and up the left flank, skating into the circle and dropping a pass. Seider picked it up, skated to the net and scored on a wrist shot, earning his sixth goal. Seider has 41 assists, making it likely he’ll be the first Wings defenseman to reach 50 points in a season since Nicklas Lidstrom had 62 points in 2010-11.
Nedeljkovic made a save on Sebastian Aho’s tip attempt a minute into the game, part of a gale-force first period that saw the Wings struggle to get out of their zone. They had three shots on net when Jakub Vrana was called for tripping at 12:24. Tyler Bertuzzi created a shorthanded chance when he got the puck in the offensive zone, but he had a defender on him and wound up shooting wide. The Wings didn’t get another shot on net until Dylan Larkin’s attempt from the bottom of the left circle in the final minute of the period. Nedeljkovic lost his stick at one point, but teammates did a good job blocking lanes until he could retrieve it. Shots in the opening 20 minutes favored the ‘Canes, 11-4.
Facing a team trying to lock up first place in its division, the Wings altered their lines in order to have some size and grit on each. Michael Rasmussen moved up to the top line to play with Larkin and Lucas Raymond, and Tyler Bertuzzi was put with Joe Veleno and Filip Zadina. Pius Suter and Jakub Vrana gained Oskar Sundqvist on their line, and Adam Erne played with Mitchell Stephens and Sam Gagner.
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