Pulkkinen powers Wings past Hurricanes
Raleigh, N.C. — For two periods they were largely listless, looking like a team who'd played the night before. But the Red Wings found some energy in the final 20 minutes and it proved just enough, defeating the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3.
Teemu Pulkkinen scored two goals 1 minute, 57 seconds apart early in the third period, then Justin Abdelkader's goal at 16:25 gave the Red Wings a two-goal lead, erasing a Carolina lead.
Carolina's Justin Faulk scored a power-play goal with 2.1 seconds left to make it a one-goal game.
Goalie Petr Mrazek stopped 44 shots, keeping the Red Wings in a game they struggled early but rallied.
"We knew it would be a hard game for us," Mrazek said. "It always feels good when you face so many shots. I wouldn't say it's important how many shots I faced, but the two points we got was important."
Pulkkinen tied it 2-2 at 4:39 of the third period, finding an open spot in front and wristing a shot past goalie Cam Ward.
Then at 6:36, with the Red Wings suddenly energized, Pulkkinen redirected a shot from Tomas Tatar, giving the Red Wings a sudden and unexpected lead.
Coach Jeff Blashill shuffled lines in the third period in an effort to awaken the Red Wings and it worked.
Blashill put together the Tomas Tatar, Dylan Larkin and Pulkkinen line and it clicked.
"We weren't skating well enough and playing to our capabilities," said Blashill of the opening 40 minutes. "In the third period, we juggled the lines and I don't know if it had an impact, but as individuals we played a lot better."
The shuffling was a good move in Henrik Zetterberg's mind.
"We knew if we stayed in the game long enough, we'd get our legs," said Zetterberg, who had a goal and an assist. "Blash and the coaching staff made a good move switching lines and it gave us a boost and a result right away."
Abdelkader scored his fourth goal of the season at 16:25, one-timing a feed from Zetterberg to give the Red Wings a two-goal lead.
The Hurricanes appeared to have the game in hand after two periods.
Carolina scored twice in just under four minutes late in the second period, erasing a 1-0 Red Wings' lead on goals by Victor Rask (15:12) and Oxford's Nathan Gerbe (19:04).
Carolina outshot the Red Wings 18-2 after one period, 34-8 after two periods.
"You could have lots of reasons why," Blashill said. "We played our home opener, there was a lot of emotion involved in that one, but none of those things matters.
"All that matters is who gets the two points and you'd love to play three great periods, but we hadn't played our best hockey and we played really good hockey (late) and found a way to win it."
A key early was the Red Wings killing a 46-second, two-man Hurricanes advantage early in the first period to keep the game scoreless.
The Red Wings killed four-of-five Hurricanes power plays in all.