'We'll take that': Red Wings halt 4-game slide with win over Hurricanes
Raleigh, N.C. — As disappointing as Tuesday’s loss for the Red Wings, this victory was satisfying and needed.
The Red Wings came into Raleigh Thursday and put together a much more credible and workmanlike effort in a 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.
It wasn’t perfect, and goaltender Jonathan Bernier (38 saves) saved the Wings often. But they certainly erased the memory of a stinging loss in Philadelphia.
“I didn’t think it was pretty in any way tonight,” said forward Frans Nielsen, whose second period goal broke a 1-1 tie. “But we proved to ourselves, especially in the last 40 ( minutes), when we don’t turn the puck over at the lines, and we get it in deep and get a forecheck going, we get more zone time and spend less time in our end.
“We can learn that way.”
Nielsen broke a 1-1 tie in the second period and Jonathan Ericsson made it a two-goal lead, helping the Wings end a four-game winless streak.
Dylan Larkin ended the scoring with an empty-net goal with 18 seconds left, his 15th goal, and stretching his point streak to a career-high nine games.
“I didn’t think the (loss) on the Island (Saturday to New York Islanders), those last two (losses), we should have just had better efforts, and effort is something we can control,” Larkin said. “Blash (coach Jeff Blashill) called us out a little bit after the last game and we were aware of that. Everyone stepped up and played a real solid road game.
“Three points in three games on the road (1-1-1), we’ll take that.”
Bernier stopped all 14 shots in the first period, as the Wings took a 1-0 lead on Niklas Kronwall’s power play goal and struggled otherwise.
“Against this team you have to stand your ground hard, they throw tons at the net and they’re trying to score dirty goals all the time,” Blashill said. “He (Bernier) stood his ground hard, fought through traffic great and found pucks well, and made big saves at big moments.
“We needed him to be great in the first (period) and he was.”
Said Bernier: “I was there when they needed me, especially in the first to weather the storm. I was seeing the puck well in the first. Sometimes I didn’t feel like I was as sharp, I let a few rebounds, but it was one of those nights you’re trying to stay in front of the puck.”
Bernier had some good fortune again with 5:35 left in the third period when Jordan Staal's shot appeared to be headed into an open net but Filip Hronek, at the last possible moment, swept the puck before it crossed the goal line (barely), as the Wings continued to lead 3-1.
“Definitely that was big,” Bernier said. “I owe him (Hronek) a dinner, for sure.”
The Wings (15-16-5) won for the third time in the last 10 games (3-5-2). Carolina (14-14-5) has only won twice in its last nine games (2-5-2).
Rookie sensation Andrei Svechnikov — the younger brother of Wings’ prospect Evgeny Svechnikov — scored his 10th goal for the Hurricanes.
Blashill challenged Svechnikov’s goal, feeling the play was offside. But after a lengthy review, the goal stood, and put the Wings in a shorthanded situation for wrongly challenging an offside call.
The Wings killed off the Hurricanes power play, regaining momentum quickly and changing the game around.
“Our kill was great, and after that we were way better,” Blashill said. “We got way better as the game went along. We were the better team for sure. We were faster in the defensive zone, we concentrated on that (Wednesday’s practice), and that was a big thing.”