Red Wings-Hurricanes Preview
The Carolina Hurricanes hope they're not headed for another dreadful start after an uninspiring opener, though they've already been hit by a significant injury.
The Jeff Blashill era couldn't have started much better for the Detroit Red Wings ahead of Saturday night's visit to Carolina.
The Hurricanes fell behind 2-0 in the first period in a 2-1 loss Thursday at Nashville. Though they outshot the Predators 12-3 in the third period after giving up a 22-14 margin previously, Eric Staal was the only goal scorer with 1:40 left. Carolina failed to convert on three power plays, including two in the final period. The first goal it allowed came at the 2:23 mark on a power play.
"We had a little bit of adversity," coach Bill Peters said. "I thought we handled it well though, but all three penalties for us were in the O-zone. That can't be something we do. Get that cleaned up, and we will be fine."
The Hurricanes lost one of their biggest offseason acquisition less than a minute in, announcing Friday that James Wisniewski suffered a torn ACL and is expected to miss six months. Wisniewski, who came over in a trade from Anaheim, tied for third among defensemen in 2014-15 with seven power-play goals.
That puts perhaps more pressure on fellow defenseman and fifth overall pick Noah Hanifin, who blocked a shot and recorded a hit in 18:06 of ice time in his NHL debut.
Carolina also called up 24-year-old Danny Biega from AHL Charlotte in light of the injury. Biega had two assists while playing his first 10 career games last season.
"It's a great opportunity for all those young guys," Peters told the team's official website. "The old guys always had to step up. They're obviously going to have to play big, valuable minutes."
The Hurricanes, who are trying to avoid losing a fifth consecutive home opener, scored 15 goals while starting 0-6-2 last season. They host Florida on Tuesday before hitting the road for a season-high seven game trip, including visits to Detroit on Oct. 16 and 27.
The Red Wings come to town in good spirits after a 4-0 victory Friday in their first game under Blashill against visiting Toronto, led by former coach Mike Babcock.
Justin Abdelkader recorded a hat trick within the first 24 minutes, Detroit's first in a season opener since Brendan Shanahan in 2001. Highly touted center Dylan Larkin scored in his first career game while Henrik Zetterberg had three assists.
"A little extra special for us to get a win against Babs," Abdelkader said.
Jimmy Howard stopped 22 shots for his 21st career shutout, but Petr Mrazek will be between the pipes Saturday. Mrazek had three shutouts in 26 regular season starts in 2014-15, including one on 35 saves in a 2-0 win against Carolina on April 11. He recorded a 2.11 goals-against average in seven playoff games after beating Howard out as the club's postseason starter.
Detroit has enjoyed a sizable edge in the all-time series dating back to the time of the Hartford Whalers, going 28-11-0 with two ties while winning nine of the last 11 meetings.
Staal, who scored a team-high 23 goals last season, has never scored in 14 games against the Red Wings.