The shot totals would suggest that the visiting Carolina Hurricanes dominated the Detroit Red Wings in Thursday's season opener.
The Hurricanes had a whopping 43-14 advantage in shots on goals but coach Rod Brind'Amour saw a lot of things that irritated him. Carolina needed two goals in the last 2:34, including an empty-netter, to put the game away.
"You're always going to be nitpicking, but that's definitely not how it should look," Brind'Amour said of the 3-0 victory. "Game one after a long layoff, I'm not too upset about it. The effort was really good, and that's the key."
The two teams will match up once again in Detroit on Saturday.
Nino Niederreiter's goal less than four minutes into Thursday's game was the only scoring until Ryan Dzingel's power-play tally in the late going. The first goal was set up by a Sebastian Aho steal and pass.
"The game was actually closer than it appeared because they had some really good looks," Brind'Amour said. "That's the stuff I want to eliminate, or try to. We probably relied on Petr (Mrazek) a little too much. We had a lot of breakdowns I didn't like."
Mrazek required only 14 saves for the 22nd shutout of his career. He had three in 40 games last season.
"Not a lot of action, but they were in our zone for a while," Mrazek said. "Our D did a great job. They blocked a lot of shots, so I can thank them for that."
Brind'Amour plans to rotate Mrazek and James Reimer, so it's quite possible Reimer will get the start on Saturday.
Detroit has a similar goalie situation. Thomas Greiss kept Detroit in the game on Thursday by making 40 saves, but Jonathan Bernier could get the nod on Saturday.
Greiss made an impressive Wings' debut. He signed with Detroit as a free agent in October after playing the past five seasons with the New York Islanders.
"I thought Thomas played well. He made the big saves at big moments to keep it a 1-0 game," coach Jeff Blashill said. "He stopped the ones he was supposed to stop. The first goal, he doesn't have much of a chance on. So I thought he did the things that he needed to do."
Dylan Larkin, who was named the team captain earlier this week, lamented an early turnover and a late penalty. The Wings killed off Larkin's third-period tripping penalty but Patrik Nemeth committed another infraction during that power play and Dzingel scored while he was in the box.
"I made a poor mistake with the puck on their first goal," Larkin said. "They get extended power-play time late in the third and capitalize. You take away those two mistakes and it's a very close hockey game. The beauty of it is we come out and we play Saturday and we win, we get two points back on those guys and even it up."
Detroit will look for some production out of its first line of Larkin, Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi. Last season, Mantha scored five goals in the first two games.
"I just think the line probably pressed too much," Blashill said. "We forced too many plays. We tried to make things up that weren't there and next thing you know, you're defending."
--Field Level Media
|1/14/21||CAR 3||DET 0||43||14||1-3||14||40||0-2|
|Carolina Off vs Detroit Def|
|Detroit Off vs Carolina Def|