RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Stefan Noesen and Jordan Martinook scored early and the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 on Tuesday night to maintain their hold on first place in the Metropolitan Division with one game remaining in the regular season.
“There’s pressure all season,” Hurricanes defenseman Jalen Chatfield said. “This is fun. This is why you play. You don’t want anything handed to you.”
Brent Burns and Jesperi Kotkaniemi also scored and Antti Raanta made 20 saves as the Hurricanes shed a slump that included the team’s only three-game stretch without a point this season.
Carolina has 111 points, one more than the New Jersey Devils. A victory Thursday night at Florida would give the Hurricanes a division title for the third season in a row. With Tuesday’s result, the Hurricanes clinched a home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
“It’s going to be nice to start at home and get the crowd support and get it going,” Raanta said.
But there’s other business first. The Hurricanes will head to Florida expecting that New Jersey will win its finale at Columbus, so they’ll need to match that victory.
“You pretty much have to just count on that, so that’s what we’re going to have to do,” coach Rod Brind’Amour said.
Robert Hagg scored for the Red Wings, who lost their fourth straight game. Former Carolina goalie Alex Nedeljkovic made 25 saves for Detroit.
“He gave us a chance,” Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said. “His ability to play the puck is huge for us, especially against a forechecking team like that.”
Dominating early, Noesen’s wrap-around goal gave the Hurricanes the lead just 2:46 into the game.
Martinook, waiting at the side of the net, banged in Brady Skjei’s pass from inside the blue line at 7:50 of the first for a two-goal edge.
“Get a 2-0 lead, the other team is chasing you,” Raanta said. “We came out and we were ready to play.”
Detroit converted on its ninth shot of the game as Hagg scored for the second time this season, at 5:05 of the second.
A blast by Burns restored Carolina’s two-goal lead at 9:10 of the second. The puck bounced off Joe Veleno’s backside and into the net.
Kotkaniemi 17th goal came with 41.8 seconds to play.
“We want to win games,” Chatfield said. “We just have to get back to our game and we knew that.”
The Red Wings next go to Tampa Bay to finish the season, marking a third assignment in a row against a playoff-bound team.
“Play the right way,” Lalonde said of his message. “Give us a chance. Just do the right thing, concentrate on the process and hopefully that will take care of itself.”
A solid second period against the Hurricanes was encouraging for the Red Wings.
“I like their push back against a team like that,” Lalonde said.
NOTES: The Hurricanes finished with a 28-10-3 home record, marking the third-most wins on home ice in franchise history. … Following Monday night’s loss at Ottawa, Carolina improved to 10-2-2 in the second part of games on back-to-back days this season. … Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin, dealing with a lower-body injury suffered a night earlier in the home finale, was out of the lineup for just the second time this season. He has a career-high 79 points. … During the game, the Hurricanes announced the signing of goalie Yaniv Perets of NCAA champion Quinnipiac to a two-year, entry-level contract.
Red Wings: At Tampa Bay on Thursday to conclude the season.
Hurricanes: At Florida on Thursday to end the regular season.
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