DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings couldn’t keep every long streak going.
After clinching a 23rd straight post-season appearance earlier in the week, the Red Wings lost a regular-season home game to the Carolina franchise for the first time since 1989, falling 2-1 to the Hurricanes on Friday night.
“You can’t be satisfied,” Detroit defenceman Niklas Kronwall said. “We want to get to the next spot—see how high we can get in the standings before we start the playoffs.”
Cam Ward made 28 saves for Carolina. The Hurricanes hadn’t won a regular-season game at Detroit since Nov. 14, 1989, when they were still the Hartford Whalers. They won Game 1 of the 2002 Stanley Cup finals at Detroit, but that was their only victory of that series.
Elias Lindholm and Jiri Tlusty scored in the first period on Friday, and Carolina held on to hand the Red Wings their second regulation loss in eight games.
Ward said the Hurricanes were told about their drought in Detroit at an optional skate before the game. The franchise had 16 losses and a tie since its previous victory at Detroit in the regular season.
“You feel good that we were able to erase that record and come up with a win,” he said.
Riley Sheahan scored for the Red Wings in the third period.
The Hurricanes, out of the running for the post-season, were outshot 29-19. But they handed the Red Wings what could be a costly loss in the race for playoff seeding.
Detroit will be a wild card in the Eastern Conference, so the Red Wings will face either Boston or Pittsburgh in the first round. With 91 points, Detroit is tied with Columbus, and each team has one game remaining.
Philadelphia also has 91 points with two games to play.
The Hurricanes were coming off a 5-2 loss the previous night to Washington, another team that is out of the playoff chase. Lindholm opened the scoring on Friday on the power play, and Tlusty made it 2-0 when he banged a rebound past goalie Jimmy Howard.
“It was a sound effort,” Carolina’s Eric Staal said. “We needed to respond after the way we lost last night.”
Early in the second, Detroit’s Tomas Jurco skated in on a semi-breakaway but couldn’t put the puck past Ward. At the other end, Staal flipped the puck over a sprawling Howard, only to have Red Wings defenceman Jakub Kindl bat it out of the air with his stick.
Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader had much of the net to shoot at when a rebound came his way later in the second, but his attempt went wide.
“Their goaltender was good, but we didn’t play right. When you don’t play hard enough, you don’t play right, you don’t win,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “At one point we had a 4-on-3, they had a 3-on-1, we had a 3-on-2. That’s not how we play. That’s river hockey. That’s not how we’re going to have success.”
Sheahan finally jammed the puck past Ward on a power play with 16:17 to play, but Ward made a fine pad save on Abdelkader with about 9:30 remaining, thwarting a 2-on-1 by Detroit and keeping the Hurricanes ahead.
Darren Helm’s impressive open-ice move also went for naught when Ward stopped him in close.
“He’s playing great and he’s healthy,” Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said. “When he plays like that, you can see he’s an elite goaltender.”
NOTES: The Red Wings recalled G Petr Mrazek from Grand Rapids of the AHL and assigned G Jared Coreau to Toledo of the ECHL. … Ron Francis, Pat Verbeek and Ray Ferraro scored for Hartford when the Whalers beat Detroit 3-0 in that 1989 game.