RALEIGH, N.C. -- Landon Ferraro was down to his last chance of the season. Playing in his seventh NHL game, he didn't want to spend the summer thinking about burying his first goal.
So when he scored on the first shift of the game, all the pressure melted away.
"I was just thinking to myself tonight I really wanted to get it in, or it would be a really long off-season, waiting for another chance at it," Ferraro said.
Ferraro's first goal, along with a 35-save performance from Petr Mrazek lifted Detroit to a 2-0 win against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on Saturday.
With the win, Detroit (43-25-14) clinched third place in the Atlantic Division. The Red Wings will face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Detroit coach Mike Babcock, in his 10th season with the Red Wings, said he was proud of Detroit for its consistency during his tenure.
"The parity in the League is unbelievable and we've made the playoffs all 10 years," Babcock said. "We're the only team in the National Hockey League to do that. All you have to do is look around and see the quality teams that don't make the playoffs."
Carolina (30-41-11) finishes the season with its fewest wins since 2003-04, when it went 28-34-14-6. Ending with a shutout loss underscored a problem area for the Hurricanes; with 188 goals, they finished 27th in scoring.
"Yeah, didn't score," Carolina coach Bill Peters said. "Obviously, no chance to win if you don't score. So that's part of what we've got to get fixed."
The Red Wings scored 48 seconds into the game. After Detroit center Luke Glendening won a faceoff in the offensive zone, Ferraro gathered the puck near the boards, circled the net and stuffed a backhand past Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward for a 1-0 lead.
"I don't think I've scored on a wraparound in like three years," said Ferraro, who has spent four seasons with Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League. "This is just my third game this year, so I just wanted to get it to the net and see if I could get a rebound chance. When I saw it get to the back [of the net], I got a little excited after that."
So excited, in fact, that Ferraro got lost in a moment of euphoria.
"I asked [Glendening] what I did," he said. "Because all I really remember is yelling really loud and turning to the corner. I don't really know what happened after that. It was cool. It was everything I thought it would be. It's something you dream of."
The Red Wings played a solid game in front of Mrazek the rest of the way, moving the puck out of the defensive end and limiting quality chances for Carolina when it got a look at the net.
"We knew Carolina was going to come hard at us and go to the front of the net, but we did a great job out there today," said Mrazek, who got his third shutout. "I saw almost every puck today. That was a huge part of the two points today."
Mrazek was sharp in the second period. He came out to meet Hurricanes forward Nathan Gerbe on a breakaway before poking the puck away. Midway through the period, he fended off close-in bids by John-Michael Liles and Elias Lindholm on the same shift.
In the third, he stayed square to Ron Hainsey when he tried to shovel the puck in from the slot.
"Petr has done a good job, and Jimmy Howard has played great for us too," Daniel Cleary said. "We've got two capable goalies, and that's a good thing. Tonight Petr was confident in net, and he plays the puck so well for us. It makes it easier for defense to get it out of the zone a lot quicker."
After the game, Babcock said he has made a decision on his starting goaltender for the playoffs, but he will wait until Monday to make an announcement. The Red Wings will take a day off, but Babcock will quickly turn his attention to Tampa Bay.
"They're a real good team," he said. "They play a fast game. They're real good offensively, score like crazy. But that's the beauty of the playoffs. It's going to be fun."
The Hurricanes, on the other hand, will look for answers after missing the playoffs for the sixth straight season. When general manager Ron Francis hired Peters this past June, he made few changes to the roster, preferring to let the new coach install his system and evaluate players for himself. Peters expressed disappointment in seeing the Hurricanes finish with 12 fewer points than last season.
"We will dig into it and look at it here as we go along and try to figure out what went wrong," said Peters, who spent the three previous seasons as an assistant to Babcock. "Obviously, we're going to have some ideas and theories. So we've got some work to do."