Niederreiter scores 2, short-handed Carolina beats Red Wings

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 16: Brady Skjei #76 of the Carolina Hurricanes and Dylan Larkin #71 of the Detroit Red Wings battle in front of the net during the third period of the game at PNC Arena on December 16, 2021 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) (Jared C. Tilton, 2021 Getty Images)

RALEIGH, N.C. – Nino Niederreiter’s second goal of the game 18 seconds into the third period was the tiebreaker, and the short-handed Carolina Hurricanes beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-3 Thursday night.

Tony DeAngelo and Jack Drury, who made his NHL debut, joined Niederreiter with first-period goals, and Vincent Trocheck added an empty-net score for the Hurricanes, who played with 16 skaters due to COVID protocols.

“If we’re going to play, we’re going to play to win and we expect to win,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “Guys gutted it out, there’s no doubt about it.”

Frederik Andersen made 23 saves. Jesper Fast, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Teuvo Teravainen and Martin Necas each had two assists for Carolina.

Sam Gagner, Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi scored for the Red Wings. Former Carolina goalie Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 29 shots.

The NHL allowed the Hurricanes, who had a scheduled game Tuesday night at Minnesota postponed, to play with two fewer skaters than normal after calling up three players from the minor leagues under an emergency exemption.

“They find a way,” Brind’Amour said of his players. “It’s one of those special wins. Special night obviously for Jack. There’s a lot of good memories in this game.”

Carolina was without team scoring leader Sebastian Aho, second-leading scorer Andrei Svechnikov, captain Jordan Staal, Ian Cole, Seth Jarvis and Steven Lorentz.

“They still have a lot of good players in the lineup,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “In the end, they got two points and we didn’t get two points.”

DeAngelo and Brett Pesce, both defensemen, were back on the ice for the Hurricanes after missing seven games because of COVID protocols.

The Red Wings have COVID cases, too. Robby Fabbri and Michael Rasmussen missed their first game of the season.

On Niederreiter’s tiebreaking goal, he collected the puck off the boards and buried a tough-angled shot past Nedeljkovic.

Drury knocked in a rebound of his own shot and the goal was the last of five scores in the first period, which ended with Carolina leading 3-2.

“I think it feels good for everyone to get that win,” Drury said. “If we don’t get the win there, then it’s all kind of forgotten.”

Drury became the 23rd player in franchise history to score a goal in his first NHL game. He also joined his father, Ted Drury, as the third father-son duo to play for the organization. The elder Drury played for the Hartford Whalers 27 seasons ago.

The Hurricanes had averaged less than one first-period goal per game.

“We knew coming into this game the older guys have got to step up and lead by example,” Niederreiter said. “I think we competed right from the get-go. We knew we got to fight through some adversity.”

Nedeljkovic was one of last season’s finalists for the Calder Trophy, awarded to the league’s top rookie, when he played for the Hurricanes. It was only the second time in his last 11 games that he allowed more than three goals.

“I wasn’t concerned with (his) game,” Blashill said.

The contest marked the first of three Carolina home games in a four-day span.


The Hurricanes were permitted to call up three players from their American Hockey League affiliate in Chicago. Aside from Drury, Andrew Poturalski played his in his third NHL game — and first since April 2017. It was the first Carolina game for Stefan Noesen.

Poturalski posted his first NHL point with the secondary assist on the game’s first goal.

The Hurricanes chartered a flight to bring back quarantined players from Vancouver and Minnesota. That trip finished during Thursday night’s game.

Getting the players home was “a little bit of a circus,” Hurricanes president and general manager Don Waddell said before the game.


The Red Wings, who dropped to 4-10-1 in road games, didn’t sense any advantage because of Carolina’s roster problems.

“It’s pro sports, you’re ready to play,” Larkin said. “… I don’t think there was any letdown that ‘they have a short roster.’ ”

Of more concern for the Red Wings is the impact of COVID protocols and the uncertainty for teams around the league.

“When is it going to go through us?” Larkin said.


Red Wings: Host the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.

Hurricanes: Host the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

More: Sports