Hurricanes hand Red Wings first loss of season

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — It’s time to curb the excitement just a bit — the Red Wings aren’t going undefeated.

That much was determined Friday as the Hurricanes ended the Red Wings’ season-opening three-game win streak with a 5-3 victory.

After three hard-earned victories, Detroit (3-1-0, 6 points) was out-played for long stretches in this game to a Carolina team (1-3-0, 2 points) that won its first game.

“Our guys know they weren’t good enough tonight,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “They had more jump than we did. We didn’t win enough puck races, puck battles, things it takes to win hockey games.”

Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan and Teemu Pulkkinen scored for the Red Wings.

BOX SCORE: Hurricanes 5, Red Wings 3

Brock McGinn, Justin Faulk (power play), Eric Staal (two assists), Kris Versteeg and Chris Terry scored for the Hurricanes.

Versteeg’s goal gave Carolina a 4-2 lead at 6:25 of the third period, rebuilding a two-goal lead just after the Red Wings failed to convert on a power play.

Jeff Skinner was behind the net and found Versteeg alone in the slot, Versteeg snapping a shot past goalie Jimmy Howard.

Terry’s goal — the puck deflecting off Brad Richards’ body in front — at 13:06 made it 5-2.

Pulkkinen cut it to 5-3 with his third goal of the season, deflecting a shot from Dylan Larkin at 13:52.

“They played harder than we did,” said Howard, who made 31 saves (the Hurricanes out-shot the Red Wings,  36-20). “They got the momentum, scored two quick goals (in the second period) and played real good. We have to pay attention to details and do the little things.”

The Red Wings appeared out of this game until two goals 1:12 apart late in the second period suddenly made it close again.

The Hurricanes were dominating, taking a 3-0 lead on Staal’s goal at 6:15, which had the Joe Louis Arena crowd beginning to show its displeasure.

Then, slowly and surely, the Red Wings began taking control as Blashill again shuffled his lines, as he did last week in Carolina to ignite the team.

And it worked again.

“I didn’t think we played our best but we made it 3-2 and we were pushing a little bit,” Blashill said.

The Red Wings had an early third-period power play but failed on an opportunity to tie the game — and Versteeg made them play shortly after, making it 4-2 Carolina.

“It’s a great chance to even the game up and we didn’t, and they came down and scored,” Blashill said.

Early on the Red Wings were clearly outplayed by the Hurricanes, similarly to the game six days before with these teams.

“Not good enough,” Nyquist said of the Red Wings’ overall game. “We didn’t win enough battles out there. We had some push in the second and played up to our standards, but it just wasn’t good enough.

“Way too many turnover, we lost stick battles and gave up too many chances.”

McGinn got the Hurricanes going with a goal 55 seconds into the game, his first NHL goal in his first NHL game on his first NHL shift.

McGinn went in on a 2-on-1 break and took a shot that Howard stopped, but the rebound slid back onto McGinn’s stick and he calmly beat Howard.

Faulk made it 2-0 with his second goal, on a second-period power play.

Faulk pinched in from the point and Staal fed him with a pass from the goal line, Faulk one-timing a shot past Howard at 3:07.

Staal made it 3-0, a little over three minutes later.

Staal got behind defenseman Brendan Smith down low and put back his own rebound for his second goal of the season, giving the Hurricanes a 3-0 lead.

“Obviously you want to have a better start and we didn’t,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “From the beginning they were a lot hungrier than we were. They won basically all the battles in the first period.”