RALEIGH -- It would have been a nice story for Red Wings forward Evgeny Svechnikov to be able to play in Carolina tonight.
Svechnikov's younger brother, Andrei, is one of the young stars on the Hurricanes.
"Yeah, I wish he was playing tonight but it's all right," Andrei Svechnikov said after the team's morning skate at PNC Arena. "I know we gonna play someday for sure."
Andrei Svechnikov is second on the Hurricanes in scoring with 12 points (5-7-12) in 12 games. Defenseman Dougie Hamilton has 13 points (6-7-13).
Evgeny Svechnikov missed all of last season after undergoing knee surgery and the Wings want him to be able to play more than 7-12 minutes a game, which is why they sent him back down to the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins.
"We have to make the decisions that are best for him, that are best for the organization," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said Tuesday. "I know he'd like to play against his brother. They're extremely close. Evgeny's as good a person as I've been around. He's an excellent human being and certainly you'd love to make that happen. But we're in the business of trying to win hockey games and trying to do what's best for the individual players."
Evgeny Svechnikov celebrated his 23rd birthday Thursday and did get a chance to talk to his brother.
"We were talking maybe three times a day yesterday," Andrei Svechnikov said. "I wish a happy birthday to him and yeah, he was happy."
ANDREI'S SHOWSTOPPING GOAL: Against the Calgary Flames Tuesday night, Andrei Svechnikov made everyone sit up and take notice with his game-tying goal.
That's because he swooped around the Calgary net and put the puck in lacrosse-style, much as the Michigan Wolverines' Mike Legg did in the NCAA Tournament back in 1996 against Minnesota.
"I tried a couple of times last year I think when I scored that goal, it's something special," Andrei Svechnikov said. "It was a lot of emotion after that game.
"It was like crazy. It just kind of exciting when you score that kind of goal. In the locker room, like I said, everyone was coming to me and saying congratulations. It's great."
More players are trying these highlight-reel type goals at even younger ages.
"I heard Svech used to do it all the time in practice and Roddy (Carolina coach Rod Brind'Amour) was pushing him to do it in a game, so he did it in a game, glad it wasn't against us, we'll try to avoid that," Blashill said after the team's optional morning skate. "I got a 9-year-old in hockey and the stuff they do at a young age is beyond anything guys I played in junior hockey or college did. It's honestly amazing, the talent level."
Although the Flames lost that game because Svechnikov scored another goal for the 2-1 victory, the Flames had a special goal of their own Thursday night against the Nashville Predators.
Matthew Tkachuk got the game-winner in overtime on an unbelievable rebound.
"I was watching that game last night and I left early. I should have stayed, I guess, for the whole thing," Blashill said. "I heard the goal was really neat. In the end I still think it comes down to, for all those highlight-reel goals, the majority of goals in the National Hockey League are dirty goals around the net. The goals that these guys score. That's what the majority of goals are, when you look at it."
CAROLINA CHALLENGE: The Hurricanes are currently second in the Metropolitan Division at 8-3-1, trailing the Washington Capitals by just four points and with two games in hand.
The Hurricanes have also been particularly good at home, with a 5-1-0 record versus 3-2-1 on the road.
"You got to get out of your end, that's the No. 1 thing by a country mile," Blashill said. "They're going to forecheck real hard, their D are going to come down the walls as hard as anybody's D does. In their O-zone they're going to shoot tons of pucks. Their D one-times pucks all the time. They cycle it down to the bottom. When they can't, they make a ton of plays to the slot, so you got to be really strong in your net-front, you got to be realty strong in your ability to block shots and when you get a puck on your stick it has to be out of your end. You can't afford to turn multiple pucks over and they just feed off that energy.
"We have to get the puck out of our end. One way or another it's got to end up out of our end and that'll be the biggest point of that. I also think you can use your counter-attack to take advantage of that. If you get pucks in behind them, you can create outnumbered rushes. I watched the Calgary game and in one minute of hockey, Carolina had two unreal chances and gave up a breakaway. When you are super-aggressive, you have the potential to give up real chances against. Obviously, Petr (Mrazek) made the save on that but you do have that. So we have to make sure our counterattack game is really good."
The Wings will be facing old friend Mrazek, who is 6-1-1 with a 2.24 goals-against average and .917 save percentage.
Mrazek has won his last 11 regular-season starts at PNC Arena and his last 14 starts overall (counting the playoffs).
Brendan Perlini, who will be making his Detroit debut, was a spectator when the Chicago Blackhawks visited Carolina on Oct. 26.
"They're a really good team," Perlini said. "Getting to watch, they play a pretty simple style game, nothing too crazy or anything like that. Those are tough games. You have to play a simple style style, too and limit the turnovers and that and capitalize on the chances when you get them. They're a good team and they got some good older guys over there. We gotta come ready to play from the start."
LARKIN, ABDELKADER UPDATES: Blashill said Justin Abdelkader, who missed the last three games with a lower-body injury after blocking a shot in Ottawa, is ready to return to the lineup.
He also said Dylan Larkin, who took a maintenance day Thursday, is expected to be fine to play.
Larkin took part in the team's optional morning skate.