Wings look flat in loss to Hurricanes

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — The inspirational third period in Vancouver was uplifting but it didn’t show up Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena.

The Red Wings were back to the head-scratching, flat-looking — and not good enough — team they’ve been for too much of this season, losing 3-1 to Carolina.

The Red Wings (4-4-1, 9 points) have lost five of their last six games (1-4-1), all after winning their first three games.

Not much has gone right since.

The energy and passion the Red Wings played with late Saturday against Vancouver?

There wasn’t enough of it against the Hurricanes.

“Not across the board,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “Not to where we need it to be. We need to be better.”

BOX SCORE: Hurricanes 3, Red Wings 1

Carolina defenseman Ron Hainsey broke a 1-1 tie at 4:35 of the third period.

It was one of many Red Wings giveaways in the game — they were credited with 12 giveaways, to only 1 for Carolina — this time Niklas Kronwall attempting to lead Tomas Jurco with a pass near the boards.

But the puck never got to Jurco’s stick, instead sliding directly to Hainsey at the point.

Hainsey’s shot got through traffic and past goalie Petr Mrazek, giving the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead.

“It was a hand-able puck and we didn’t handle it,” Blashill said. “(Then) a seeing-eye shot.”

The sloppy play has been a problem with the Red Wings much of this young season.

“Mostly mental errors,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “Either try to do too much or try to make the right play but we don’t execute.

“We have to get better.”

Two Hurricanes power plays late in the third period certainly didn’t help the Red Wings get back in the game.

Goalie Cam Ward stopped all seven shots he faced in the third period — 25 for the game — and Hurricanes forward Eric Staal got the clincher for Carolina (3-6-0, 6 points) with an empty-net goal with 30 seconds remaining in the game.

“In the end, we still didn’t generate enough,” Blashill said. “We have to generate more than that. We didn’t give much at all, but we have to do a better job of generating (more offense).”

Jakub Kindl and Carolina’s Victor Rask traded second-period goals.

Rask opened the game’s scoring at 12:26 of the period.

A game after Mrazek keyed a Red Wings victory in Vancouver by setting up a goal — he gave one away in this one.

Mrazek came out to clear the puck but shot it right into Rask’s body.

Rask got control of it, Mrazek fell, and Rask had a clear path to an empty net, getting the easiest of his three goals this season.

“I didn’t see that guy coming to me (until) the last second,” Mrazek said. “It was a mistake, it happened, and it cost us a goal.”

But the Red Wings rallied toward the end of the period.

The Hurricanes failed to clear the puck and it landed on the Kindl’s stick at the point.

Kindl’s shot caromed off the skate of Carolina’a Jay McClement and through the legs of Ward at 17:44. It was Kindl’s first goal of the season.

The Red Wings had the lone power play of the first period but didn’t generate any sustained push against Ward, just four minutes of the game.

How that power play came about was about the best excitement early for the late-arriving Joe Louis Arena crowd.

Tomas Tatar and Carolina’s Nathan Gerbe (Oxford) got into a minor scrap along the boards at 3:59 of the first period, with Gerbe getting an extra minute for roughing.

In a quirk in the schedule, this was the third and last game between the teams already this season — they do not meet again this regular season.

“They’ve played us pretty tough right from the start,” Zetterberg said.