Robbi Fabbri’s goal with under two minutes remaining in the game just after a Detroit power play expired gave the Red Wings the go-ahead goal in a 4-2 win Saturday over the Carolina Hurricanes at Little Caesar’s Arena. Both teams are 1-1-0 with two points after opening their seasons with consecutive games against each other.
Andrei Svechnikov had a goal and an assist, and Vincent Trocheck scored on the power play for Carolina. Petr Mrazek made 17 saves — several were on breakaways caused by breakdowns by the Hurricanes in front of him.
1. The prevailing theme after the game was that the Hurricanes didn’t show up for the first 40 minutes — and it showed on the scoreboard with a 1-0 deficit.
“Tonight we just didn’t bring that compete level,” Trocheck said. “They outworked us and they wanted it more, and that’s what the end result showed.”
Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said it wasn’t that his team wasn’t competing but that he “didn’t know what (he) was watching for two periods.”
2. The Hurricanes clearly missed captain Jordan Staal, who was placed in the league’s COVID-19 protocol Friday.
“That’s what it looks like when you when he’s out of our lineup, and we got to figure it out,” Brind’Amour said. “It’s a huge loss and we need guys to step up when someone like that is out and we, and we have in the past. He’s a very, very valuable player for us.”
Carolina struggled in the faceoff circle (a 33-29 Detroit advantage that was much more lopsided the first two periods) two nights after dominating (34-20 Carolina advantage). And while Staal won’t be confused with Justin Williams when it comes to leadership ability, the Hurricanes are still a young team and likely missed the big center’s steadying presence on the ice and on the bench.
3. There probably weren’t many new fans of hockey made watching the first two periods of this one. The ice was choppy (at best), and the Red Wings seemed content playing a sloppy game that limited speed and chances. Once Bobby Ryan scored early in the second period, Detroit seemed content to play a lot of dump-and-chase hockey and clutter the middle of the ice to make things as tough on Carolina as possible. Thankfully, the third period included more chances and goals.
Number To Know
5 — Shots on goal for Trocheck in each of Carolina’s first two games, just the second time he’s had that at least that many consecutive games since the start of the 2018-19 season. On Dec. 23, 2019, he had six shots and an assist with Florida in a loss at Tampa Bay, then he had five shots and an assist on Dec. 28 in a home win over Detroit.
Trocheck’s goal Saturday was his second since joining the Hurricanes last season, both on the power play, and third regular season point in nine games with Carolina. He had two assists in eight games in the bubble last season.
They Said It
“He’s our captain. We miss him a lot and, hopefully, he’s going to get better soon and we’re going to see him again.”
— Andrei Svechnikov on the absence of Jordan Staal
Andrei Svechnikov, Hurricanes forward — Svechnikov took a hit in the second period, and from that point forward he was the best player on the ice. His shot on the power play probably goes in even if it doesn’t glance off of Trocheck, and he tied the game a second time with a quick spinning shot in between the circles in the third.
He finished with a goal and an assist along with a team-high five hits in the loss.
“He took it on himself to get going,” Brind’Amour said of Svechnikov. “He knew he wasn’t playing great, and then he led the way in a third.”
Svechnikov agreed that he and the Hurricanes were flat for the opening two periods.
“Immediately after the game, Rod said, ‘It’s all about compete,’” Svechnikov said. “I think he’s right. We were a little bit off today, and those things matter. We gotta just outwork those guys and compete more.”
Sebastian Aho, Hurricanes center — Simply put, the Hurricanes need more from Aho. With Staal out, Aho’s defensive responsibilities and faceoff usage both increase. While there weren’t defensive breakdowns from Aho and his line, he struggled at the faceoff dot (7 of 19) — he lost one in the offensive zone that eventually led to Dylan Larkin’s game-sealing empty-netter — and was mostly invisible at even strength and on the power play.
He did have a shorthanded chance late in the third period when the game was tied, but Detroit goalie Jonathan Bernier (29 saves) prevented the go-ahead goal, and the Red Wings scored the winner shortly after the power play expired.