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Five Red Wings Takeaways: Nothing Finer Than Nedeljkovic Perfection In Carolina

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Alex Nedeljkovic, Detroit Red-Wings
Alex Nedeljkovic blocked 46 shots for the shutout as the Detroit Red Wings blanked the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0.

Facing the team that sent him packing to the Detroit Red Wings last summer, Alex Nedeljkovic boarded up his net. He blocked all 46 shots he faced as Nedeljkovic was backstopping the Red Wings to a 3-0 shutout victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday.

Earlier this season, Nedeljkovic made 43 saves in a 1-0 road win over the Canucks at Vancouver.

Five takeaways from the busiest shutout by a Detroit netminder since Terry Sawchuk blocked 50 shots as the Red Wings whitewashed the New York Rangers 4-0 at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 14, 1959.

Red Wings Nedeljkovic In Good Stead

A little extra movitation facing his old club? Sure, Nedeljkovic will allow for that reality.

“Anytime you can get a shutout in this league it’s always special,” Nedeljkovic said. “Maybe tonight was a little bit more.”

A Calder Trophy finalist in Carolina last season, the Hurricanes dealt Nedeljkovic to Detroit rather than offer him a new contract. Nedeljkovic was suggesting that there’s no lingering bitterness over what he perceives to be a business decision.

“No, there was never any hard feelings,” Nedeljkovic said. “At the end of the day, it’s a game, but there’s a business side to it. I understand that.

“They had to make what they thought was best for them, and honestly, it’s a really good move for me as well. I was given an opportunity here to play a lot of games and like I’ve said many times, I’m very excited with the opportunity that I was given.”

Seider Order Of Game Winners

Red Wings rookie defenseman Moritz Seider doesn’t score goals all that often. But when he does, oh my but they are big goals.

Seider’s sixth tally of the season proved to be the game winner. Accepting a drop pass from captain Dylan Larkin, Seider sent a quick shot zipping past Carolina goalie Antti Raanta.

Four of Seider’s goals this season have now been game winners. Two of them – on Nov. 6 facing Buffalo and Dec. 4 against the New York Islanders – were overtime winners.

“He was really good in camp, and he was really good at the start of the year, and he was better in December and better the next month,” Nedeljkovic said of Seider. “He’s better today than he was yesterday.

“That’s something special in a young kid to be able to do that at a high level in this league. He’s got a bright future.”

Eye Of The Hurricanes For Red Wings

There’s a number of NHL Eastern Conference playoff teams that would like to bottle whatever elixir it is that the Red Wings are drinking when they face the Hurricanes. Detroit is now 2-1 this season against Carolina.

Just two of the seven other teams in the East that will be joining Carolina in the postseason – the Florida Panthers (2-0-1) and Washington Capitals (2-1-1) – are showing winning records this season against the Canes.

“Obviously they’re one of the best teams in the league,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said of the Hurricanes. “I thought our guys battled hard. We didn’t do everything perfect.

“I thought we battled and we stayed with it. The want on the bench was great. The energy was good. We got great goaltending and that allowed us to find a way to win.”

Bewitching Stephens

A long-term injury prevented center Mitchell Stephens from really displaying his wares for the Red Wings this season. However, there have been impressive flashes, such as his down-low cycle that led to Detroit’s second goal.

Protecting the puck along the wall, Stephens turned and in one motion was quickly snapping a pass across to Adam Erne for the tally on the edge of the goal crease.

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“Mitch is a guy who can skate, gives us energy, has enough skill and ultimately I think will be a good faceoff guy,” Blashill said. “Obviously, he’s been out a long time. He doesn’t have the same jump that he had before the injury.

“He’s gonna get that back but it’s gonna take the summer to get it.”

Fil-ling The Net

Approaching the game with a shot mentality is a factor that Blashill is often preaching to his players. Filip Zadina is one Red Wiings player who is listening to that sermon.

“Zadina’s a guy for me, he doesn’t suffer from not shooting it,” Blashill said. “He likes to shoot the puck. And I think that’s a positive thing and I think over the long haul of his career it’s gonna be a benefit for him.”

It was in evidence on Detroit’s third goal. Creating a turnover in the Carolina zone, Zadina brought the puck toward the net. Using Carolina defenseman Brady Skjei as a screen, Zadina shot quickly and caught Raanta by surprise for his 10th goal of the season.

“One of the things we try to talk about is make goalies make saves,” Blashill said. “I was a goalie and I can tell you when guys are in scoring areas and they pass and it doesn’t connect, you’re basically letting the goalie off the hook.

“Let’s make them make saves and there’s chaos created from that. And that’s ultimately what happened on that goal.”

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