DETROIT — They likely aren’t going to make the playoffs with a depleted lineup and countless injuries, but the Red Wings aren’t rolling over and waiting for the season to end.
Jake Walman blasted a shot from just inside the blue line with 3.2 seconds left in regulation time, giving the Red Wings a 3-2 victory over Carolina.
Walman scored his ninth goal, whistling a shot past goalie Frederik Andersen, who may have been screened with two bodies battling for position in front.
Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Larkin (power play) added goals while goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 31 shots of his former Carolina teammates.
The Wings won their second consecutive game over a prospective playoff team, while moving above .500 for the season (33-32-9).
The Wings’ resilience and competitiveness was noted by coach Derek Lalonde often lately, including leading into this game.
“This group hasn’t quit all year and I don’t expect them to quit now,” Lalonde said.
Kubalik opened the game’s scoring with his 20th goal.
Kubalik took a pass from David Perron while gaining speed up ice, carried the puck into the zone, and blasted a shot past goalie Frederik Andersen just 59 seconds into the game.
But Carolina took the lead with two similar goals early in the second period.
Brent Burns tied it 1-1 with his 14th goal, at 42 seconds of the period.
Burns took a shot from the point that may have glanced off a Wings’ stick, and got past Nedeljkovic.
Burns’ defensive partner, Jaccob Slavin, made 2-1 Carolina with a similar goal.
Slavin took a shot from the point that again may have bounded off a Wings’ player and eluded Nedeljkovic at 4:18, Slavin’s seventh goal.
The Carolina lead held until Larkin’s 28th goal, on the power play.
Alex Chiasson, who continues to spark the Wings’ power play, got control of the puck and created space, then found Larkin open near the hashmarks for a quick snap shot past Andersen at 7:26.
Lalonde respects the Hurricanes, currently with the NHL’s second-best record, and for the way Carolina plays.
“They play as predictable of a game as you can find in the National Hockey League right now, and they’re really good at it with a really good team,” said Lalonde, who added there’s two distinct reasons for Carolina’s success. “One, their personnel. That’s a real good team. But two, it’s the most predictable team that I’ve seen and that’s what they are and who they are, and it’s good.
“Even in my time in Tampa, we didn’t go from good to championship great until we got a little more simple and predictable. That’s their recipe and that’s why they’re good and been toward the top of the league for a while now.
“It’s why Carolina is as good as they are and I really appreciate what they do.”
The Hurricanes have one of the deeper teams in the NHL, but the list of full-fledged stars is arguably rather short.
But they are one of the best forechecking teams around, have received winning goaltending, and are strong defensively.
They don’t necessarily play an exciting brand of hockey, there aren’t many highlight-reel goals coming from them, but the formula usually produces wins.
“There are teams that will (add) risk in their game to create offense and that’s great, and there are special players the maybe the NHL is heading that way, you can see that,” Lalonde said. “But predictable, like you know where everyone is on the breakout and everyone regroups, and offensive routes you know where they all are, all this team does is pound the puck to the net and go gets it. It’s as simple as it gets.”