After another long break between games, the Carolina Hurricanes were back in action on Friday night with the Detroit Red Wings in town. The Canes were looking to flush the tough loss to the Kings on Monday afternoon after failing to provide the spark on Hall of Fame Day. Detroit entered the game on a massive heater, picking up points in their last seven games.
Martin Necas returned to the lineup after missing the last five games. He took Brendan Lemieux's spot in the lineup, playing with Stefan Noesen and Jack Drury. Antti Raanta got the start after being yanked in Monday's loss. Detroit, who was playing without Patrick Kane, turned to former Hurricane Alex Lyon to get the job done.
The game didn't get off to a great start for the Hurricanes. On Detroit's first shot of the night, Klim Kostin managed to sneak one past Antti Raanta less than three minutes in. Raanta had it in his glove, but it popped out, and it barely got over the line. Before the fans could start to worry, the team responded. Jordan Martinook won a battle to the front of the net and got his stick on an offering from Brent Burns to get the game tied less than a minute later. The defense didn't allow much else as Detroit finished the period with three shots and the score tied 1-1.
The chess match continued into the second period as neither side allowed the other to gain an inch. It took a little bit of playmaking from Martin Necas to find the go-ahead tally. Necas made a move to gain some space before snapping a shot under the blocker of Alex Lyon late in the period to put the Canes ahead. However, this lead would also be short-lived. After Jaccob Slavin took a rare and slightly baffling penalty, the Canes were caught up ice trying to score on the kill. Dylan Larkin and JT Compher came back the other way on a 2-on-1, allowing Compher to tie it again in the final minute of the period.
The third period against Los Angeles on Monday was the deciding point in the game. It would serve the same role on Friday. After another calculated start to the period, the Canes eventually earned their first power play of the night. Sebastian Aho was looking to set up Michael Bunting in the slot. Instead, the puck hit his stick and found Andrei Svechnikov, who slid it between Alex Lyon's pads to put the Canes ahead again. This time, the lead stuck. Necas set up Aho for the late empty-netter as the Canes rebounded with a 4-2 win over the Red Wings.
The chances for both teams were scarce, providing the fans with a tight defensive battle. No lead lasted long through 40 minutes, with Detroit leading for just 47 seconds in the first period, while the Canes' lead in the second period lasted less than three minutes. The game came down to the Hurricanes' power play finding a way to erase the last two games. They did it in 31 seconds. From there, the defense took over, making sure Antti Raanta didn't have to do anything spectacular to preserve the win.
It was great to see Martin Necas back in the lineup. He was flying early and might've had a little too much energy. He fanned on a couple of chances in good scoring positions but slowed down a bit as the night progressed. His goal in the second period was a big one. While the lead didn't last through the end of the period, it allowed the Canes to play from ahead and injected a little energy back into the building. He nearly scored the empty-netter, hitting the crossbar from the defensive zone, but made a nice play to drop the puck to Sebastian Aho to ice it.
Along with the brilliant offensive performances from the Hurricanes, they did a great job preventing the Red Wings' stars from getting going. Dylan Larkin picked up an assist on the power play, but he wasn't allowed to do much at 5-on-5. Alex DeBrincat only had one shot. Their top line of Larkin, David Perron, and Lucas Raymond finished -2. Their fourth line was their most effective. Then again, it's hard to do much when you only get 12 shots.
The Canes have four games left before the All-Star Break. After this win, they've ensured a winning record during this homestand, which ends on Sunday against Minnesota. They play a huge back-to-back next week, traveling to Boston on Wednesday before hosting the New Jersey Devils on Thursday. Depending on the health of Pyotr Kochetkov, we may see newly-claimed goalie Spencer Martin during that back-to-back. They'll conclude the "first half" by hosting the Arizona Coyotes next Saturday.