Wings Take 2 From Canes, Staal Celebrates 1000

Cary, NC — Coach Rod Brind’Amour said it best after Saturday’s game — the Red Wings earned those 2 points.

Saturday: Canes Lose To Red Wings in Shootout, 5-4

With the Canes coming off 2 hard wins against the Florida Panthers that put the Canes in first place, the Canes were in prime position to put space on the Panthers and Tampa Bay as the Detroit Red Wings are sitting at the bottom of the Central/Discovery division.

In a never-say-die attitude, the Wings fought hard, got a couple of lucky bounces and outlasted the Canes in a 7-round shootout to win 5-4. With the trade deadline on Monday, the Red Wings are a seller while having traded 2 players in the previous 24 hours and speculation of more to come.

The second game on Monday between these 2 teams marks Jordan Staal’s 1,000th NHL game. Playing a game against his brother, Marc for about the 60th time, along with his parents in attendance, is something special. There are several rumors around Marc being traded which would be a shame but is all part of the business side of hockey. 

Necas, Staal Have Great Goals

The Canes came out of the gate as if they were shot out of a cannon. Jordo won the initial faceoff and within seconds, Jordan Martinook put a backhand shot on Thomas Greiss that looked like it was going to sneak in the high shirt side. On just the third shift of play, the Wings had possession in the far corner in their end when Vincent Trocheck forced a clear.

Dougie Hamilton pinched past the man he was covering, kicked the puck to stay in the Wings end, skated 2 strides, stretched those long arms to snare the puck passing cross-ice to Martin Necas on the perimeter of the near circle. Nessy put the puck from skate to stick then quickly sent a wrister to the far upper corner for the early 1-0 lead.

At that point, with the wins over the Panthers fresh in the Caniacs’ minds, some may have already been counting on those 2 points for a win. Maybe a rout. But there were 20 players wearing red and white sweaters with a winged wheel that have no quit in them, who also smoked Tampa Bay, 5-1, earlier in the week.

Less than 5 minutes after the Necas goal, the Canes had all 5 skaters on the far side, hacking and whacking away for a clear. The puck trickled out of the scrum with Troy Strecher quickly taking a shot from the right point. Petr Mrazek had it all the way and paddled the puck off the near boards in an attempt to clear the zone.

Filip Zadina stopped the puck inside the blue line and went down along the boards, centering the puck that Raz kicked out with the pads but the puck hit Dylan Larkin on the thigh then bounced in the net.

Less than 4 minutes later, the Wings entered the Canes zone dumping the puck in the far corner. On what looked like a simple clear, which given the appearance of an easy pass may have been the condition of the ice, the bouncing puck was challenging to handle, forcing Jaccob Slavin to pass up to Necas before flattening the puck.

The puck bounced over Nessy’s stick right into Alex Biega who flung the puck to the net as Anthony Mantha was going to the net who ticked the puck ever so lightly that Raz had no chance for the redirect. Team minutes later, Slavo had the puck behind his net while both forward lines were making a change.

After the change was made, Slavo made a 105’ bank pass to Martinook in the neutral zone just a Jordo was going speed, Martinook redirected the puck past his defender, perfectly timed that Jordo picked up in stride, skated into the circle sending a hard shot to Greiss’ stick side to tie the game at 2 apiece.

Hamilton Bowls in His 6th

It’s not that either team played poorly in the first, both coaches had to keep grinding as results will follow. Maybe Wings coach Jeff Blashill stressed better forechecking as the Canes dominated on shots, 16-9, in the first. The Canes were only able to muster 6 in the second.

Early in the period, Brady Skjei got called for cross-checking giving the Wings their first powerplay. Mrazek was left out to dry early in the man advantage, making a quick blocker save off the stick of Andrei Svechnikov’s brother, Evgeny, with the puck going back to Evgeny who settle the puck from 7’ out with Raz absolutely stealing a sure goal with an incredible glove save.

Under the 10 minute mark, the Wings had the puck in the Canes end but the puck was up for grabs. Cedric Paquette intercepted a centering pass slapping the puck to the far boards. Hamilton banked the puck to the neutral zone where Morgan Geekie got it going over the Wings blue line when Christian Djoos swatted the puck off Geekie’s stick.

Hamilton, following the play, picked up the loose puck, raised his head picking a corner and with full concentration sent a hard wrister past Greiss while Djoos turned his back going down in a blocking attempt like a football lineman that tripped Hamilton just as the puck went in.

Late in the period, the Wings got the puck in the Canes zone, rimming the puck behind the goal up to Filip Hronek on the right point. Hronek sent the puck towards the goal with 4 players jostling in front of Mrazek. Raz made the initial save with the puck just dropping in the blue crease area getting kicked around without players knowing it, first by Vaterlli Filppula then over to Jordo who unknowingly kicked the puck through Mrazek’s pads to tie the game. 

No For Nino, Yes For Aho, A Shootout to Forget

Jake Gardiner was back in the lineup for the first time since early March as he was getting over an ongoing lower back injury. For the first game in a long time, there was some evidence of rust but overall he had a good game. He recorded one shot on net but it was the attempted shot in the third that led to the Wings late lead.

With the fourth line out, Steve Lorentz won the faceoff in the Wings end drawing it back to Gards on the left point. Gardiner passed over to Jake Bean in the middle-high slot who passed down to Lorentz below the goal line. Lorentz brought the puck up along the boards passing to Gards who for a slap shot.

Adam Erne, who has wheels, pulled his legs together and blocked the shot. Jumping on the puck and turning on his jets, he went straight for the net between the two Canes defenders, putting a sweet backhander over the left shoulder of Mrazek for the late 4-3 lead. The Canes thought they tied the game when Greiss was at the top of the crease, Nino Niederreiter went behind Greiss to tip the puck into the net.

Replays appeared it was a good goal but the refs determined Nino’s skate touched Greiss’ negating the goal for goalie interference. Normally, especially at that point of a game, if a goalie thinks he was interfered resulting in a goal, they go insane. Not Greiss, he just shook his head and took a drink of water.

Coach Blashill had nothing to lose, albeit a 2-minute penalty, so he challenged to goal. After the no-goal was called, the Canes, with help from the Covid capacity Caniacs, resolved to even the score. Roddy had the top line back out as he knew they felt cheated. The Canes won the faceoff immediately sending the puck deep.

Nino grabbed the puck behind the net passing to Nessy on the right point. With both Brett Pesce and Skjei in the unusual position of being in the crease area, Nessy looked to the goal, he is after all a shoot-first type player, but made a no-look pass over to Sebastian Aho on the left point.

Fishy, somewhat surprised he was not challenged, took a couple of strides towards the net always keeping the puck on his stick in the cocked and loaded position then fired off a laser that found the far corner to tie the game with exactly 4 minutes to go. The overtime was sloppy on both sides with the Canes only getting one shot on net while the Wings had 2 with Mrazek making a key save off Hronek to make the game go into the shootout.

Larkin scored on the Wings’ initial shot forcing Andrei Svechnikov to put home a sick-looking backhander to keep the Canes in it on the 3rd round of the shootout. Erne scored the last goal in the 7th round to even the season series at 3 apiece. In the post-game interviews, every Cane player commented the one point was not enough and vowed to make the rematch on Monday a better game. 

Wings Spoil Staal’s Celebration

It had all the makings for a storybook day — the day Jordan Staal would play in his 1,000th regular season NHL game.

The Canes were coming off getting spanked by the division cellar-dwellers, Detroit Red Wings, a couple of nights before, giving reason to be pumped up for the rematch, he would be the first player to play in his 1000th game against a brother, one other brother, Jared, who played all of 1 game for the Canes was in attendance as were his parents and the pregame ceremony was emotional and a classy way to honor the milestone.

Once the puck drops it was game on, with no passes for the honoree as the Red Wings delivered the second blow in a row, beating the Canes, 3-1. 

Welcome Jani Hakanpaa, Goodbye Fleury

Monday was also the NHL deadline and the Canes made a trade that wasn’t all that surprising when they traded Haydn Fleury to The Ducks for the right-hand shot defenseman, Jani Hakanpaa, and also got a 6th round pick in the 2022 draft.

Jani Hakanpaa was a teammate of Sebastian Aho on the Finnish National team. Turns out the Canes tried to acquire Hakanpaa in the past and VP/GM Don Waddell spoke to Fishy about Hakanpaa who said he was an excellent player and fit the character of being a Hurricane.

Waddell said he was busy on the phone these last two weeks and was professional in not going into details regarding any particular player. There were a few rumors regarding specific players and one was Fleury as the Canes are loaded on defensemen and Fleury is too good to be cycling in and out of the lineup.

Plus he signed just a one-year deal and with the expansion draft, folks were predicting Seattle Kraken GM, Ron Francis, knowing Fleury so well, has his eye on Fleury. If that was true, everyone made out better with this trade- Fleury will get more ice time and the Canes get the additional right-handed D-man, who also brings a little sandpaper to the team.

Maybe it was the trade day events, as Fleury was very well-liked by all the Canes and has been in the organization for a long time, maybe it was the pregame ceremonies but the Canes came out as flat as they’ve been all year.

The Wings are not going anywhere this year so they’ve been very active sellers having made a few deals over the past week and made a huge deal themselves earlier on Monday when they trade Anthony Mantha. There was no trade day let down by the Wings as they dominated the play from winning the first puck drop to the final buzzer. The score may have been 3-1, but if it wasn’t for James Reimer in net for the Canes, the score could have been far worse as he was the only Cane player that had a good game. 

After Saturday’s game, Coach Rod Brind’Amour switched up lines to start the game and made changes again during the game. The line chemistry just wasn’t there which was a big surprise. During practice, players play with nearly everyone but game situations are completely different.

It’s difficult to see some checking forwards who don’t have the scoring skills as much as a pure scorer, be in a position to become a playmaker or relied upon to put the puck in the net. The ice is the same for both teams and throughout the course of the game, more Canes lost their edge trying to get in position than I’ve seen since a certain Cane lost an edge costing the Canes a game in the 2002 Stanley Cup Finals.

You just knew the Canes wanted the period to end so they could come out in the second and regroup.

Throwing The Stick Penalty, Really

If the Canes regrouped in the second, it was hard to tell. Give credit to the Red Wings as for the limited talent they have, they played great. Don’t look now but this last place divisional team has won more games against the Canes than anyone else, 4. 

With the game starting to get a little chippy, the refs started calling penalties. Two for each team and just to show there are no freebies on Your Day, even Jordo got a penalty for holding. Neither team had a powerplay that was memorable which pleased both keepers.

Call it a rookie mistake, but when Steve Lorentz lost his stick at the Wings blue line but continued to stay with his man, in trailing the play, Morgan Geekie, used his stick to push the floating lumber 40’. In a very rare call, Geekie was called for Throwing The Stick. Once a stick is on the ice, a player may not use his stick to move the stick, but literally, all do.

The rules say they have to pick up the stick. Caniacs may recall in a recent game against Columbus, the Blue Jackets player moved the stick with his stick then made a pass resulting in a goal that made a huge impact on the final outcome, so it really is a rare call. Again — a period with no scoring. 

Niederreiter Scores Off Assists by Foegele and Staal

If anyone was sensing the Canes would make a complete turnaround and knock in a few goals to make the storybook ending it deserved. Well, those folks forgot to get that sensing down to the Canes. On the first shift of the third, the Wings came into the Canes end with little resistance.

Michael Rasmussen carried the puck down along the near boards, went behind the net and dished the puck on a silver platter to Adam Erne for an easy tip-in. As soon as the play started over the Canes blue line, I saw it to be offsides. Turns out Roddy called for a coaches review and all replays I could see looked to be offsides.

The officials do get a blue line camera to review so all can say is that is the only view that allowed the officials to say it was a good goal. Because the Canes lost that challenge, they got a delay of game penalty. To add salt to the wound, Rasmussen got his second assist on the night when Filip Zadina put a powerplay goal behind Reimer.

If ever there was a time for the Canes to dig in and show why they are in first place, now was the time. As storybook as it will get, after Jordo won a faceoff in the Wings end, Nino Niederreiter popped one Lin to get the Canes within one with Jordo at least getting an assist along with Warren Foegele. That was it as far as any threat by the Canes.

With Roddy pulling Reims in the last two minutes, the Canes played catch in the Wings end like it was a powerplay. After a bad pass that allowed the Wings to clear the puck through the neutral zone into the Canes end, no other way to call it but a slow reaction by the Canes and an aggressive move by Valtteri Filppula who gained control but had no shot passed up to Sam Garner who slapped home the game sealer.

Morgan Geekie almost made the score respectable with 6 seconds left when he hit the crossbar but then why would the Canes luck change at that point. The ceremony was great, the game not so much. Day off on Tuesday, hard practice scheduled for Wednesday to get ready for Nashville on Thursday.

Story by Bob Fennel. Photos courtesy of the Canes public Facebook page. See more Canes coverage on CaryCitizen.

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