Frans Nielsen on the Red Wings' ability to rally and earn victories. The Detroit News
Raleigh, N.C. — The Red Wings had Carolina right where the Wings wanted them after two periods Saturday, trailing by two goals.
And, again, the formula worked successfully.
Frans Nielsen scored the lone goal in the shootout to give the Wings a 4-3 victory, the Wings’ third consecutive come from behind victory, and sixth win in the last seven games (7-8-2 16 points) overall.
Carolina outshot the Red Wings, 52-32, making for a busy but successful evening for Wings goaltender Jonathan Bernier, whose 49 saves were a career high.
Bernier was perfect in the shootout, stopping all three Hurricanes (7-7-3, 17 points) shots to cap the Wings' comeback.
“It’s not the way you want to win, but it shows a lot of character,” Bernier said. “We didn’t play our game tonight, they had more jump than we did. But in the third (period) we came out and got big goals and in overtime you never know what can happen.”
Anthony Mantha scored two third-period goals, the tying goal following his own rebound at 10 minutes,17 seconds, giving him five goals for the season.
“We just know how to bounce back,” Mantha said. “The second period wasn’t great tonight, but we figured it out, put pucks behind their defense and put pressure on them. We’re a fast team when we play quick and that’s a key.”
In overtime, Carolina goalie Scott Darling made two incredible saves on Dylan Larkin and Mantha on consecutive shots to keep the game tied.
Nielsen then scored the lone goal in the skills competition.
“We’re playing with the confidence, we know we can do it,” said Nielsen of the belief the Wings now have when trailing. “We’re definitely not playing our best hockey, be we are finding ways and we’ll take that right now.”
Coach Jeff Blashill on what the Red Wings have learned during this win streak. The Detroit News
The Wings have been able to rally these last three games largely because of the goaltending.
Jimmy Howard definitely saved the Wings Friday against the New York Rangers, and Bernier was just as stellar against Carolina.
“The important thing is, when your goalie keeps you within reach and that’s been a few games, the last game and tonight where we weren’t good enough, and our goalie kept it within reach, it allows you to come back,” coach Jeff Blashill said.
Andreas Athanasiou opened the game’s scoring with his sixth goal, second in two nights, but Carolina answered with the next three goals.
The Hurricanes dominated the second period, outshooting the Wings 19-7 and snapping a 1-1 tie.
“You have to get pucks out, sometimes you have to just pound it out because they come forward so well,” Blashill said. “We got away from it (in the second) and it looked like some guys, sometimes when you’re tired you lose your brain a little bit, but we regrouped and got better.”
Michael Ferland scored his eighth goal, on the power play, redirecting a pass from Sebastian Aho past Bernier at 8:35.
The Hurricanes extended the lead to 3-1 toward the end of the period. Carolina’s Dougie Hamilton scored on a sweeping a backhander over a pair of Wings bodies in front during a scramble. Hamilton’s third goal came at 17:01.
Athanasiou opened the scoring with a blistering one-timer from the dot, teed up by Nick Jensen, that got through Darling at 8:04 of the first period.
The Wings’ chances looked grim through 40 minutes but Mantha’s heroics in the third spurred another resilient and productive evening.
“We’re playing pretty good,” Mantha said. “We had a tough start to the year but things are falling into place right now.”