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Red Wings rally in third period to defeat Hurricanes

by Kurt Dusterberg

RALEIGH, N.C. -- While the Detroit Red Wings labored through the first half of the game, the Carolina Hurricanes threw everything they had at Petr Mrazek.

Sometimes, the goaltender makes all the difference.

Mrazek weathered the Hurricanes' 34-8 advantage in shots through two periods before Teemu Pulkkinen scored the tying and go-ahead goals early in the third, helping the Red Wings to a 4-3 victory on Saturday that spoiled the Hurricanes' home opener at PNC Arena.

Detroit got in penalty trouble early in the game, including 46 seconds of a 5-on-3 when the Hurricanes (0-2-0) brought their best. But Mrazek stopped a heavy shot from Justin Faulk and a rebound bid from Eric Staal. Jonathan Ericsson also cleared a loose puck at the top of the crease to keep the Hurricanes off the scoreboard.

"On the one-timers, the [penalty-killers] went out of the shooting lanes sometimes so I could see the puck and stop it, said Mrazek, who finished with 44 saves. "They made big blocks and didn't let the puck go on me."

After being outshot 18-2 in the first period, the Red Wings found their skating legs in the second when Henrik Zetterberg scored his first of the season at 11:33 for a 1-0 lead. He took a pass from rookie forward Dylan Larkin and skated below the goal line, shook off Jordan Staal and wrapped the puck around a sprawling Cam Ward, who made 15 saves.

The 35-year-old had a goal and an assist, giving him five points in two games while skating with Larkin and Justin Abdelkader.

"It's been a good start, but I've been playing with some young, fresh guys too, so that keeps me younger," Zetterberg said.

Carolina answered at 15:12 when Victor Rask batted a puck out of the air and past Mrazek. Rask was at the left post when he connected with a rebound off the glass from a shot by rookie defenseman Noah Hanifin. The fifth player taken in the 2015 NHL Draft earned his first NHL point.

Carolina took its first lead of the season on their next shot when Nathan Gerbe redirected Ryan Murphy's sharp pass from the right-side boards past Mrazek with 56 seconds remaining in the period.

But the Red Wings came to life in the third period, capitalizing on defensive mistakes by Carolina.

Pulkkinen tied the game 4:39 into the third period with an unassisted goal. Carolina defenseman Ron Hainsey tried to clear the puck from a scrum in the corner, but his pass wound up on the tape of Pulkkinen, who snuck a shot between Ward's pad and the right post.

Pulkkinen gave Detroit a 3-2 lead when he redirected Tomas Tatar's wrist shot from inside the blue line past Ward at 6:36.

"It was a lucky bounce," he said, referring to his first goal. "It just came to me and I barely hit it and it went in the net. The second one was a lucky one [too]. But I just need a couple lucky ones, then it's way easier."

Abdelkader made it 4-2 on a one-timer in the slot at 16:25. After a lengthy individual display of puckhandling behind the net, Zetterberg found him alone in the slot for a one-timer.

"He's so patient with the puck," said Abdelkader, who had a goal and an assist to go with his opening-night hat trick against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday. 'He can find guys all over the rink. He doesn't have to be looking at them. That's why he's one of the best in the world. I just try to do my part on the line, but obviously it's a lot of fun playing with him when he has that kind of skill set."

Faulk completed the scoring by scoring a power-play goal with three seconds remaining.

The game may have been costly to the Hurricanes. Already without defenseman James Wisniewski, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the season-opener, Carolina lost center Riley Nash to an upper-body injury in the first period and Rask in the final minute.

"We're fine," Carolina coach Bill Peters said. "We'll do it again and play the same way, tighten up a little defensively."

Peters acknowledged that Hurricanes could have changed the direction of the game had they capitalized on the early two-man advantage.

"It would have been nice to score on the 5-on-3 obviously early in the game," he said. "That would have given us some more momentum, maybe some breathing room, but their goaltender played well."

Detroit coach Jeff Blashill, who took over for Mike Babcock this season, is now unbeaten in two starts as an NHL coach.

"All that matters is who gets the two points," Blashill said. "You'd love to play three great periods and you'd love to not have to come from behind, but in the end, we were only down by a goal and we hadn't played our best hockey. [Then] we played really good hockey and found a way to win."

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