RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Teemu Pulkkinen insists he got lucky with his first goal, then again with his second. The Detroit Red Wings weren’t about to argue with the results.
Pulkkinen scored two goals in the third period, lifting Detroit past the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 on Saturday night.
The Red Wings scored three goals in the third to erase a 2-1 deficit, with Pulkkinen tying it with 15:21 left and then adding the go-ahead goal with 13:24 remaining.
“I just need a couple lucky ones,” Pulkkinen said, “and then it’s way easier.”
Henrik Zetterberg had an early goal and assisted on Justin Abdelkater’s insurance goal with 3:35 to play.
Turns out they needed it, after Justin Faulk made it a one-goal game by scoring with 2.1 seconds left.
Nathan Gerbe and Victor Rask had goals for Carolina, which scored on consecutive shots in the final 5 minutes of the second.
“We played hard,” Carolina captain Eric Staal said. “We played well. You’re not going to fault anything, I don’t think, with our game. I thought we played hard, to a man, and didn’t get the result, but that effort’s going to be there all year.”
Cam Ward made 15 saves for the Hurricanes while Petr Mrazek turned aside the first 32 shots he faced and finished with 43 saves.
“Mrazek played unbelievable the whole game, not just the first period when he basically kept us by himself in the game,” Zetterberg said.
Pulkkinen tied it at 2 after he slipped through the slot and crashed the net. Then he outfought Carolina’s John-Michael Liles in front of Ward and redirected Tomas Tatar‘s shot to put the Red Wings back up.
“I think (the first goal) was a lucky bounce – it just came to me, I barely hit it and it went into the net,” said Pulkkinen, who had an AHL-best 34 goals in just 46 games last season with Grand Rapids. “And I think the second one was a lucky one, too.”
Said Zetterberg: “He knows where to be, and he knows how to score goals. It’s nice to have that in this game.”
Abdelkater then made it 4-2 with his fourth goal in just over 24 hours. He opened his season with a hat trick in a 4-0 win over Toronto on Friday night.
Carolina, which finished with a 46-19 shots advantage, generated plenty of scoring chances – but just couldn’t solve Mrazek until late in the second.
Rask finally broke through, batting in a rebound behind the Detroit goalie’s back with 4:48 left in the second for the first goal of the season allowed by the Red Wings.
Gerbe then gave the Hurricanes their first lead of the season when he parked in front of the net, took a slick feed from Ryan Murphy as the defenseman charged down the boards and slipped the puck past Mrazek with 56.5 seconds left.
Zetterberg broke a scoreless tie at 8:27 of the second on just Detroit’s sixth shot. He took a feed from Dylan Larkin, snaked around the end line and tucked the puck under Ward’s right leg.
In what proved to be an early turning point, the Hurricanes had a 5-on-3 power play for 46 seconds and peppered Mrazek with seven rapid-fire shots.
He stopped them all – and, for that matter, everything he faced until the final minutes of the second.
“You want to score on the power play early,” Staal said, “but we controlled the whole first period and most of the second as well. … A couple key mistakes cost us.”
NOTES: Two teenagers earned points: In addition to Detroit’s 19-year-old Larkin, 18-year-old Carolina D Noah Hanifin picked up his first NHL point for assisting on Rask’s goal. … D Michal Jordan replaced injured D James Wisniewski in the Hurricanes’ lineup. Wisniewski will miss six months after tearing a knee ligament in the opener. … Carolina C Riley Nash skated just five shifts before exiting with an upper body injury and did not return.