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Red Wings’ Playoff Hopes On The Line Heading Into Weekend



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RALEIGH, N.C. — Believe it or not, it could have been worse for the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night.

The bad news began before the game, when Patrick Kane and Austin Czarnik were pregame scratches due to illness.

Then, the Carolina Hurricanes scored four goals in the second period and beat the Red Wings 4-0.

But the Washington Capitals, two points ahead of Detroit in the chase for the last playoff spot in the  Eastern Conference, fell to Toronto, 5-1, while Philadelphia, three points ahead of the Red Wings in vying for third place in the Metropolitan Division, lost to Montreal 4-1.

“Obviously, the second period was not our best,” Christian Fischer said. “Obviously there were some big breakdowns there and any time you go down 4-0, it’s gonna be really tough to climb back.”

Carolina clinched a playoff spot with the victory, their sixth in a row.

“Give them a little bit of credit with everything up against us,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde said. “We probably needed their ‘B’ game there. Unfortunately, through 40 minutes they had their ‘A’ game.”

Second Period Crucial In Loss

The Red Wings had only three shots in the first period, but held Carolina scoreless.

The roof caved in for the Red Wings in the second period. Sebastian Aho and Seth Jarvis each had a goat and  two assists in the period. Aho, Carolina’s leading scorer, recorded his 300th career assist. Martin Necas and Brady Skjei also scored for the Hurricanes.

“Yeah, two games which we got shut out.,” Lalonde said of the past week. “Good goalie performance in Nashville, good goalie performance tonight. But when you’re not scoring, you just you need to get harder around the nets and I would like more volume (with shots).”

The chase for the final playoff spots tightened when the New York Islanders beat Florida 3-2. The Islanders are now two points behind the Red Wings.

The loss was the third in three games on the current five-game road trip. It began with a 1-0 loss to the red-hot Nashville Predators before Tuesday’s overtime loss at Washington. Two more challenges await, at Florida Saturday and at Tampa Bay on Monday.

“Tampa and Florida coming up are two really good teams, playoff teams,” Fischer said. “It’s gonna be a  fun two games. Our backs against the wall here and we’ve gotta find a way to win  by any means. Doesn’t really matter how; we’ve got to win some games here.”