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Recap: Canes Can't Dig Out of First Period Hole

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

Analysis from Detroit

→ The Carolina Hurricanes could not erase a three-goal first period deficit on Tuesday night in Detroit, as they fell 4-2 to the Red Wings in the two teams' final regular season match-up at Joe Louis Arena.

"We've just got to work 60 minutes. I don't think we came out that good. We fought back," Victor Rask said. "We've just got to find our game here and play like we should."

→ Down 3-0 heading into the second period, the Hurricanes came out of the first intermission with much more jump and energy than they had in the opening 20 minutes.

"I think guys were quite aware that we were in danger of getting blown out. You've got to man up, go to work and find a way," head coach Bill Peters said. "We played with a little bit more pace as it went along and we became better because of it."

"It's tough. We didn't get off to the start we wanted. You never want to be in a hole, down 3-0. We were able to get a couple there and get some momentum," Justin Faulk said. "We knew if we played the right way we could get a few more. We weren't able to capitalize in the third."

After a miscue at the Detroit blue line in which two defenders ran into each other, Jordan Staal and Sebastian Aho skated into the zone on a 2-on-0. Staal looked off Aho and fired a wrist shot past Petr Mrazek to get the Canes on the board.

Then, as Brendan Smith was stepping out of the penalty box, Andrej Nestrasil sent a nice cross-ice feed over to Victor Rask, who put a shot in off Mrazek's upper body for his fourth goal of the season. Rask now has points in each of his first six games and leads the team in scoring with seven points (4g, 3a).

"I wish we had a winning streak instead," Rask said of his prolific offensive start.

"He's just continued to evolve as a player," Peters said of Rask. "He's done a good job with his career. He continues to get better. He continues to have good summers in the offseason, and he gets rewarded for it."

Late in the period, though, Andreas Athanasiou stepped up, fired and scored after Detroit won a battle in the near corner and emerged with possession. That stretched Detroit's lead to two goals.

→ Down 4-2 in the third period, the Hurricanes had a goal waived off with just over three minutes left to play. Brett Pesce had the point shot and Teuvo Teravainen tipped it in, but it was ruled a high stick. Replay confirmed the officials' call on the ice.

→ Tonight's first period was one to forget for the Hurricanes. In the first five minutes, Thomas Vanek found a soft spot in the slot and fired a one-timer past Cam Ward to put his team up 1-0.

Past the midway point of the period, Henrik Zetterberg sent a backhand pass into the neutral zone that hit Dylan Larkin in stride and sprung him on a breakaway. Larkin buried the shot, and the Wings led 2-0. Just four minutes later, Larkin again scored, this time from a sharp angle as he banked the puck in off defenseman Brett Pesce.

"They were quicker than us early. That was apparent. They had some odd-man rushes. We had a few we'd like back," Peters said. "Too many easy goals, and too many soft plays."

There wasn't much, if anything at all, for the Hurricanes to take out of that period - except for that they had to be better.

"I think it was us. Not taking anything away from them. They played well. We just have to be better from the start," Faulk said. "We weren't necessarily moving as much as we'd like to or dictating the pace of play. We were kind of letting them do it. If you let another team do that, they're going to be all over you and capitalize."

→ The Hurricanes franchise played 40 games at Joe Louis Arena from January 1980 to tonight. Coming into last season, the Canes had won in Detroit just once since 1990; the team then proceeded to win twice at The Joe in a span of 12 days. In total, the Hurricanes amassed a record of 10-22-7-1 at Joe Louis Arena.

→ And thus ends the six-game road segment to begin the Hurricanes 2016-17 regular season. The team takes a 1-3-2 record (4 points) back to Raleigh, where they open their 41-game home slate at PNC Arena against the New York Rangers on Friday.

"We're going to have to find a lineup that works for us," Peters said. "We're going to find an identity that we can be proud of."

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