Raleigh, N.C. — The victory felt good for the Red Wings, but almost immediately, real life came into play.
Andreas Athanasiou scored at 1 minute, 59 seconds of overtime, giving the Red Wings the dramatic victory, his 18th goal — and second game-winning overtime goal in two days.
But on the play, Athanasiou barrelled into goalie Eddie Lack.
Athanasiou appeared to be cross-checked into Lack by Hurricanes forward Victor Rask, with Lack’s upper body colliding with Athanasiou, who was driving to the net.
A stretcher was called out almost immediately for Lack, who lay motionless for minutes as both teams gathered by the net.
Lack gave a thumbs up sign as he was wheeled off the ice, and Red Wings players saw movement from the goaltender as well. After the game Lack had full feeling in all his extremities and was undergoing further tests, the Hurricanes said.
“I had no idea I hit him,” said Athanasiou about the play. “The D-man cross-checked me pretty hard and I must have ran into him a little bit. I haven’t seen the play yet. I don’t know what part of me hit him.
Andreas Athanasiou explains his game-winning goal and resulting collision with Carolina goalie Eddie Lack.
“You never like to see a guy go down like that, and go out on a stretcher.
“I just drove to the net and felt the D-man’s stick on my back. He hit me pretty hard. I was just trying to put the puck in the net. Even after, I had no idea I had made contact with him.”
Captain Henrik Zetterberg knows Lack from Swedish national teams and through friends , so it was difficult to see the goalie in that condition.
“He’s a great guy, so you don’t want to see anyone in that situation and when you know him, too, it’s a lot tougher,” Zetterberg said. “It was good to see Eddie move and you saw the thumbs up. It was a little relief.”
Goalie Petr Mrazek (39 saves) made a big stop on Jeff Skinner, and the Red Wings converted with Athanasiou on the resulting rush.
“I knew I had a tight angle so I just tried to drive the net and fortunately it worked out,” Athanasiou said. “Sometimes the puck finds you and gets you in the right spot. I’m just happy it worked out.”
The Red Wings (31-32-12, 74 points) continued their hot streak, winning for the fifth time in seven games (5-1-1).
Coach Jeff Blashill feels special teams have fueled the team's recent hot stretch.
“If you look throughout the season, they’re all one-goal games and we’ve been able to find way to win these one-goal games,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “Certainly specialty teams have been a difference in the last month. We’ve gotten real good goaltending over the last little bit, both guys are playing well.
“Our guys are playing hard and that’s a credit for the character of this group.”
Tomas Tatar broke a 2-2 tie with a third-period power-play goal, his team-leading 23rd goal, and Anthony Mantha scored two goals in a 1 minute 10 second span in the second period, giving the Red Wings the lead.
Mantha’s offensive surge put the Red Wings in control of the game.
“I knew I was going to shoot it on the first one and I just tried to find an open spot,” Mantha said. “The second one came so quick, I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I couldn’t shoot a second time in a row so I just tried to open him up. I saw him kind of giving a big stretch across so I just went power five hole.”
Carolina defenseman Justin Faulk tied the game 3-3 with his second goal of the game — and 16th of the season — on a wrist shot from the top of the slot with 51.1 seconds left in regulation time.
The Hurricanes (33-27-14, 80 points) haven’t lost in regulation time in 11 games (7-0-4).
Monday’s game was the makeup of the postponed Dec.19 game that was called due to poor ice conditions.
The teams play again Tuesday, which will be the Red Wings third game in three days.
The Red Wings lost Luke Glendening to a lower body injury after the first period. Glendening didn’t return and Blashill doesn’t expect Glendening to play Tuesday, listing him as day-to-day.