Red Wings halt losing streak with 4-3 win over Hurricanes

calexander@newsobserver.comNovember 21, 2013 

— The Detroit Red Wings had lost the past seven straight games, which was troubling in “Hockeytown.”

Even more galling for the Wings was that their winless streak at Joe Louis Arena was eight games.

Into the mix Thursday came the Carolina Hurricanes, who had not beaten the Wings in a regular-season game at the "Joe" since the franchise moved to North Carolina in 1997. Given that, many assumed this might be the night the frustration and streaks end for the Wings – and they did.

Gustav Nyquist, just called up from the AHL, scored twice in his first game of the season and Niklas Kronwall's 5-on-3 power-play goal in the third period was critical as the Wings won 4-3.

Defenseman Andrej Sekera scored twice for the Canes, and defenseman Brett Bellemore picked up his first NHL goal. But after the Canes (8-10-4) failed on a 5-on-3 power play late in the second period, the Wings (10-6-7) took a 3-2 lead in the third with their two-man advantage.

Kronwall was credited with the goal after the puck went off the skate of Canes center Jordan Staal and trickled across the goal line as goalie Justin Peters scrambled to try and stop it.

"We battled hard to come back and we were right there," Sekera said. "We had a 5-on-3 and those are the chances that can hurt you in the end. It did for us.

"They scored on their one and we didn't, and then it's tough to play against a good team like that."

A holding penalty on the Canes' Riley Nash and then a slash on defenseman Tim Gleason set up the Wings for two minutes of a 5-on-3. The goal came with 15 seconds left in the power play.

Nyquist, recalled Thursday from Grand Rapids, then scored his second on a breakaway for a 4-2 lead with about four minutes left in regulation. Sekera had a shorthanded goal for the Canes, but it came with 15.9 seconds remaining.

The Canes finished 0-4 on the power play and are 1-for-25 in the past eight games.

"It's too bad because I thought we played a hard game," Canes coach Kirk Muller said. "We're getting opportunities to win these hockey games and ... I guess we'll take responsibility as a staff. Our power play has to come through and it hasn't."

Canes forward Jeff Skinner, who had missed the past 11 games with an upper-body injury, was activated off injured reserve Thursday morning. Skinner played on Eric Staal's line as Muller looked to try and generate some needed offense.

The Wings, who last won at home Oct. 15 against Columbus, took a 2-0 lead early in the second on a Darren Helm goal. But the Canes then answered.

Bellemore scored on a give-and-go with forward Radek Dvorak. Sekera then tied it 2-2 with a little more than seven minutes left in the period.

Taking a pass from Eric Staal, Sekera bolted over the Detroit blue line. He eluded a defender and blasted a glove-side shot past Jonas Gustavsson, who started in goal for the Wings.

"I was in full speed, saw there was a hole," Sekera said.

But the Canes' power-play woes were costly. Back-to-back penalties on the Wings late in the second resulted in one minute, 36 seconds of a 5-on-3 power play but the Canes could not take the lead.

The Wings' Pavel Datsyuk batted down a pass by the Canes' Chris Terry near the blue line, helping Detroit burn off time. The Wings' penalty killers, ranked fourth in the NHL, did the rest.

It almost seemed as if Brendan Shanahan dropped the puck and the Wings scored. Shanahan, now a Hockey Hall of Famer and a former Wings star, was honored before the game and once it began, Nyquist scored in 17 seconds.

Peters settled in after the quick-hitter. He faced 47 shots in the game while Gustavsson, nicknamed "The Monster," faced 27 after getting the nod from Wings coach Mike Babcock ahead of Jimmy Howard.

The Wings lost defenseman Brian Lashoff during the game because of the flu.

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