Detroit Red Wings let down by special teams in 2-1 loss to Carolina Hurricanes

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Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press
·3 min read
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The game was the kind the Detroit Red Wings see as being to their advantage.

They entered Sunday’s matchup against the Carolina Hurricanes at Little Caesars Arena fresh off their most productive outing the season, but that outburst was a rarity. Low-scoring games are more to the Wings’ identity.

Jonathan Bernier made 30 saves, but with the Wings not getting on the scoreboard until Anthony Mantha found the net with 9.4 seconds to go, they lost, 2-1.

It was a one-goal game going into the third period. Nino Niederreiter fired a shot from the top of the left circle that snuck through traffic. Bernier was pulled with 3:11 to go for the extra attacker.

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Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jonathan Bernier (45) makes a save in front of Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho (20) during the first period March 14, 2021, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.
Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jonathan Bernier (45) makes a save in front of Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho (20) during the first period March 14, 2021, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.

It wasn’t a good evening for the Wings on special teams — they were back to looking sloppy on power plays and gave up a shorthanded goal.

It was a trend throughout the first half for the Wings (were 8-17-4) to come out of close games saying those were the ones they needed to win. They don’t have the scoring power to engage opponents in high-goal games, but have cited improved team defense and Bernier as reasons why they are better suited to succeed in low-scoring games.

The teams play again Tuesday.

Bernier big

Dylan Larkin had two solid scoring chances in the first period, but it was Bernier down at the other end who was busiest, making a dozen saves in the first 20 minutes. The Hurricanes were without leading scorer Vincent Trocheck, but Andrei Svechnikov had a couple good chances and Sebastian Aho also forced a save. It was Bernier’s second consecutive start and 10th in 14 games.

Special second period

The Wings had a power play 3:08 into the second period, but it was Bernier who had to make saves. Larkin’s unit with Filip Zadina, Adam Erne, Michael Rasmussen and Filip Hronek struggled to get set up. The penalty killers did a better job when Carolina had a man advantage midway through the period, with Darren Helm skating the puck into the Hurricanes’ zone to create a scoring chance. Anthony Mantha sent a puck on net during the Wings’ second power play, but the second unit again disappointed. Zadina lost the puck, and Dougie Hamilton raced up ice to score shorthanded, firing the puck over a sliding Larkin at 15:13.

Seven-Eleven

The Wings went with seven defensemen and 11 forwards, the same lineup that earned a 6-4 victory last week over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Forward Mathias Brome had been recalled from the taxi squad, but he didn’t make it into the lineup. He took warmups Thursday, just in case defenseman Troy Stecher wasn’t ready to return from injury. Meanwhile forward Evgeny Svechnikov, who had two goals and two assists in four games, was back in Grand Rapids.

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Red Wings let down by special teams in 2-1 loss to Hurricanes