After recovering from a two-goal deficit to win its season opener 6-4 against visiting Florida on Friday, Carolina (2-0-0) rallied from three goals down for a 4-3 overtime victory at Tampa Bay on Saturday night.
Eric Staal provided the tying and winning goals, and Rod Brind’Amour contributed a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes, who have opened with back-to-back wins for the first time since the 2001-02 season.
“We definitely don’t always dig ourselves that hole, but it was nice to come back and show that character again,” said Staal, whose team is working toward returning to the playoffs after missing out the last two seasons.
Carolina hasn’t started with three consecutive victories since winning its first four contests in 1995-96.
The Red Wings (1-1-0) nearly opened with two straight losses for the first time since 1989, but the man who keyed their run to the 11th Stanley Cup title in franchise history saved them from a loss on Saturday.
Johan Franzen, who set a team record with 13 playoff goals last season, scored twice in the final nine minutes of the third period to lift Detroit to a 3-2 victory in Ottawa.
“It was a good game for us to find a way to win and it was important that we had to really work hard to do it,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We need to find our work ethic and our passion again. It doesn’t carry over from year to year. You’ve got to find it again and I thought we took a good step.”
Franzen, pointless in Thursday’s season-opening 3-2 loss to Toronto, has collected 17 goals and five assists in his last 18 regular-season contests.
Play-making left wing Henrik Zetterberg, who led the Red Wings with a career-high 43 goals and posted a career-best 92 points in 2007-08, assisted on both of Franzen’s goals on Saturday. He has four goals and two assists in five lifetime contests versus Carolina.
Franzen scored in Detroit’s 5-2 home win over Carolina on Dec. 9 in the only meeting between the clubs last season.
Staal failed to register a point in that matchup, part of the Hurricanes’ 11-22-1 record last season when he was kept off the scoresheet. The 23-year-old center led the Hurricanes in goals (38) and assists (44) in 2007-08.
Over their last five games against Detroit, the Hurricanes have two wins— both at home—along with a tie and two losses. They had won just twice in the previous 15 meetings.
It’s unclear who will be in net for Carolina after expected backup Michael Leighton was given the start Saturday, stopping 26 shots in just his ninth NHL game since 2006-07. Like Leighton, expected starter Cam Ward gave up four goals in his only game of the season.
While Leighton is 4-2-0 with a 2.48 goals-against average in six all-time starts versus Detroit, Ward allowed all five goals to the Red Wings in last season’s meeting in his only career appearance against them.
Detroit goaltender Chris Osgood, who had 20 saves Saturday, is 12-4-0 with a 1.50 GAA versus the Hurricanes, but hasn’t faced them since losing in Carolina on Jan. 6, 2004 while playing for St. Louis.