The Carolina Hurricanes finally gave the Caniacs something to cheer about on this road trip by storming into Ottawa and handling the Senators 4-1 on Tuesday night. Sebastian Aho finally broke through, recording three points in the second period to lead the Canes to their first win on the trip. With Detroit being the final stop during this run, they needed to find a way to close things on the right foot.
The Canes rolled the same lineup that earned the win in Ottawa. This meant they'd stick with seven defensemen, and Pyotr Kochetkov would be back in the net after a fantastic start in Canada's capital. The Red Wings came into the game with a slightly depleted lineup. Captain Dylan Larkin headlined a group of players placed on IR earlier in the week, and David Perron remains out as he serves a six-game suspension for an incident over the weekend. However, the recent addition of Patrick Kane was certain to ease that burden. In the net, the Red Wings turned to Ville Husso.
The Hurricanes were on their heels early as Pyotr Kochetkov had to fend off chances from Patrick Kane and the Wings, but they'd draw a defensive zone penalty against Alex DeBrincat to give them a chance on the power play. While they couldn't convert, they managed to get one into the net shortly after. Stefan Noesen feathered a pass through a few defensive sticks to find Jack Drury for a tap-in at the side of the net to get the Canes on the board first.
The remainder of the opening period was a good showcase for the two goalies. While not exactly a save, Pyotr Kochetkov would get help from his goalposts as Jeff Petry rang one off the iron. Ville Husso was especially sharp. He made stops on Grade-A chances from Sebastian Aho, Seth Jarvis, and Jesperi Kotkaniemi to keep Detroit in the game. Eventually, the Wings would get a chance on the power play as Stefan Noesen was called for interference in the final two minutes of the period. The Canes' kill, which came into the game perfect in December, managed to get to the intermission with the lead intact.
The penalty kill did its job to begin the second period, and then Jaccob Slavin caught a stick up high to send the Canes back on the power play. Again, the Red Wings withstood the push, allowing them to find some momentum. That kill likely contributes to Detroit finding an answer early in the period. Michael Rasmussen caught Pyotr Kochetkov playing small in the net, snapping one to the short side over his shoulder to knot the game less than 5:30 into the frame. It was a tough goal for Kochetkov to allow because of how well he'd been playing.
If this game is remembered for any reason, it'll be each goalie misplaying the puck to give their opponent an excellent scoring chance. The difference is that it would ultimately end up hurting one team. Not long after the tying goal, Pyotr Kochetkov came out of his net to play the puck. He ended up heeling the pass, sending the puck right to Patrick Kane. Fortunately, Kochetkov was able to recover, getting back into the crease to take a goal away from the newest member of the Red Wings. Ville Husso wouldn't be as lucky. Brett Pesce's dump-in eluded Husso three separate times. Jordan Staal would be there to poke the puck into the net after it hit the end boards, giving the Canes a one-goal lead once again.
Another late-period penalty would force the Canes to complete a kill early in the third period. They seemed to find their game after that. The only problem was that Ville Husso had squashed the bad goal he'd allowed. Husso made save after save to keep the game at 2-1, with Seth Jarvis and Jesperi Kotkaniemi continuing to be his favorite victims. The Canes' defense was doing an excellent job of denying Detroit any chance to tie it.
The power play for the Canes came up empty a third time, and the Red Wings would get another chance with the man advantage with less than six minutes left. Pyotr Kochetkov made his most consequential stop of the night on Alex DeBrincat. The Wings had moved the puck well, but Kochetkov was able to deny the potential tying goal. Jalen Chatfield drew a trip behind his net, and after the Canes spent most of the two minutes trying to run the clock down, Kochetkov would make more stops in the dying seconds to preserve a 2-1 win for Carolina to close the trip.
Considering how this trip started, this was as encouraging a finish as anyone could've hoped for. I don't necessarily think Pyotr Kochetkov outplayed Ville Husso, but he certainly made fewer mistakes. It felt like the Canes did all of the little things well. Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat had quality chances throughout the game, but they were few and far between. Jaccob Slavin had a patented Slavin-like night. The penalty kill came up huge, especially with their kill in the third. The stars didn't show up on the scoresheet, but their impact was felt throughout the game. Seth Jarvis finished the night with seven shots, almost all of which were high-quality. Stefan Noesen and Jack Drury continue to produce. Noesen was especially noticeable, setting up several scoring chances.
The win in Detroit sets up the Canes well going into the Christmas break. They have five games before the break, beginning on Friday night in Raleigh against the Nashville Predators to complete the back-to-back. While there aren't many games left before the holiday, they are all against dangerous teams. Three of them are against division opponents, beginning with the Washington Capitals on Sunday. They also welcome the defending champions to PNC Arena on Tuesday.