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Carolina Hurricanes use second-period boost to hand Detroit Red Wings third straight loss

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The Red Wings made it into a fight again for the Carolina Hurricanes one last time, but this time it wasn’t a win.

The Hurricanes defeated the Wings 3-1 on Thursday, saving an eight-game season split between the teams.

Imagine that. That would be Carolina (33-10-7) with the most points (73) in the NHL and the Red Wings (17-26-9). But the Wings could more than hold their own against Carolina and won as much as they lost against the division heads.

BOX SCORE: Hurricanes 3, Red Wings 1

But two goals from Carolina in the second half, then a big goal from Teuvo Teravainen in the third half, made for the Hurricanes.

Jakub Vrana scored a highlight goal and goalkeeper Jonathan Bernier made 28 saves for the Wings.

Brady Skjei and Warren Foegele had those Hurricanes goals in the second half and goalkeeper James Reimer stopped 16 shots.

Evgeny Svechnikov (37) from Red Wings controls the puck alongside Steven Lorentz (78) from Hurricanes in the first phase on Thursday.

The Hurricanes enter the playoffs with a lot of confidence and experience than in previous seasons. Carolina also likes putting pressure on all over the ice, but the Wings have done a good job of countering that this season.

“They’re a team that want to tip the ice. You want to end up playing and if you end up spending a lot of time you’re in trouble,” said coach Jeff Blashill after skating Thursday morning. “If you get a puck against Carolina, that puck gets out better (out of the zone) and if it stays on your end they feed on it and really make you swim on your own end.

“When we’ve got some success, we’ve done a good job trying to be faster in the end. We’ve done a good job getting pucks out and we’ve done a good job playing in the end.”

The Hurricanes have been eliminated by the Boston Bruins (in the East Finals two years ago) two years in a row, but Carolina won’t see Boston until the third round if either team gets that far in the newly drawn divisions this season.

But Blashill has a lot of respect for the hurricanes.

“They are a really good ice hockey team, obviously one of the best in the league,” said Blashill. “In recent years they have increased their forward skills and depth to the point where they have a real elite group of strikers, an elite group of defenders and all of their goalkeepers have played well.”

The highlight for the Wings in that game was Vrana’s beautiful goal in game two, which reduced Carolina’s lead to 2-1.

Vrana jumped onto the ice and wiped the puck of Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho near the blue line, then ran down the slot.

With no hurricanes around, Vrana went to his backhand when Reimer had to fend off defenselessly. Vrana casually flipped the puck over the goalkeeper to score Vrana’s sixth goal with the wings (17th overall including Washington).

After a goalless first period, the Hurricanes – who did not lose 6: 0: 3 in nine games in regular time – freed themselves early in the second period.

Skjei opened the scoring at 4:40 a.m. of the second half. He jumped onto the ice and caught the trailing pass of Aho entering the zone.

Skeji faked a Wings defender and shot a shot past Bernier to score Skeji’s third goal.

After each team failed in a power game, the Hurricanes extended the lead on Foegeles goal to 2-0.

Foegele intercepted a pass from Troy Stecher, went hard into the net and was stopped by Bernier. But Foegele stuck to it, even when Wings defenders were around him, got into the puck and reset the rebound for Foegele’s 10th goal at 1:29 pm.

Torn by injuries to strikers Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi, Robby Fabbri and Bobby Ryan, the Wings have won once in their last seven games (1-3-3). The Wings have only scored more than two goals once in those seven games, a 7-3 win over Dallas.

The Wings will host Tampa for two games on Saturday and Sunday and close the season in Columbus this coming weekend, Friday and Saturday.

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Twitter: @tkulfan

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Dusty Kennedy