Work in Sports
Darren McCarty and Sergei Fedorov scored second-period goals and Igor Larionov got the eventual game-winner in the third for the Red Wings, who have not lost to the Hartford-Carolina franchise at Joe Louis Arena since November 14, 1989.
"That this team hasn't won here in 10 years, I didn't get to see the first six, but I've been here for the last four," said Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice. "It's not a lot of fun. Actually, I can remember the last one. I bet it was a helluva lot more fun than tonight."
Francis was a member of that Hartford Whalers team that recorded a 3-0 blanking at Detroit nearly 10 years ago. Tonight, he became only the sixth player in NHL history to amass 1,500 points when he set up Sami Kapanen's power-play goal late in the first period.
"When you think of the amount of guys that have played the game, it's a special number," Francis said. "When you come in, you're just trying to prove yourself, trying to get into the lineup and get some ice time. You're not thinking about anything like this. Then the next thing you know, you look back and you're there with guys like Gretzky, Howe, Dionne, Messier and Esposito. It puts you in a pretty special club."
McCarty tied it 1:40 into the second, taking a pass from Steve Yzerman and flipping a short wrist shot into the top right corner of the net for his third goal.
Fedorov put Detroit ahead for good with 54 seconds left in the period. Former Red Wing Paul Coffey was serving an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when Fedorov corraled a loose puck off the end boards and banked a shot off defenseman Sean Hill's left skate and past goaltender Arturs Irbe.
A giveaway at the Carolina blue line sent Vyacheslav Kozlov and Larionov in alone on Irbe. Kozlov broke down the left side and slid the puck across to Larionov, who swept a shot under the crossbar for his fourth goal with 3:48 remaining.
"I know Arturs from the days when we were in San Jose, and I know he's very quick. So the only way I could beat him was to go top shelf," Larionov said. "Fortunately, the puck got under the crossbar."
All four of Larionov's goals have been game-winners. While he insisted it's only a coincidence, McCarty believes otherwise.
"He's opportunistic. Everybody focuses on what a great passer he is, and he is. But he can finish it off, too," McCarty said. "That was a great goal. He just put it in off the bar."
Ahead by two in the final minutes, the Red Wings watched Brendan Shanahan try for his 400th NHL goal. He passed up an empty net and set up McCarty, who shot over the goal. Seconds later, Shanahan's attempt from the neutral zone hit the right goalpost.
Things got much more serious after Tommy Westlund scored his first NHL goal to lift the Hurricanes within 3-2 with 47 seconds left. But Osgood and Detroit held on to snap a three-game winless streak.
"We had a good effort. We had a lot of chances," McCarty observed. "I think we took the play to them most of the time. They didn't have too many scoring chances. It was a game we needed. We hadn't won in three games."
Irbe finished with 30 saves for Carolina, which has lost three of its last four games and fell to 5-3-3 on the road. The Hurricanes are 0-2 at home.
"The guys worked hard," Maurice said. "I thought as the game went along we played with a little more intensity, a little more fire and generated a few more chances. But we couldn't get it done."