Defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom scored a power-play goal with 5:08 remaining and set up Kris Draper's tally 13 seconds later as the Red Wings evened the Stanley Cup Finals at one win apiece with a 3-1 victory over the Hurricanes.
Carolina had killed 11 consecutive power plays bridging the first two games against a team that ranked second in the league with the extra man during the season. Just six minutes away from the comforts of another overtime, the Hurricanes put the Red Wings on their seventh power play of the game when Martin Gelinas slashed defenseman Mathieu Dandenault.
"It was just a bad penalty by me," Gelinas said. "He was coming along with speed and I was just trying to slow him down."
Detroit needed 52 seconds to break a 1-1 tie that lasted since late in the first period.
Lidstrom played catch with Sergei Fedorov, got a cross-ice pass at the top of the right faceoff circle and ripped a one-timer over the glove of goaltender Arturs Irbe and into the top right corner of the net. It was his fifth playoff goal and first in seven games.
"They are good at blocking shots and getting in front of the shots, and it's tough to get the puck to the net," said Lidstrom, who logged an incredible 34 minutes, 38 seconds. "On that particular play, Sergei was on top and I was on the right side. He gave me an open lane, so I took the shot. I tried to get it up high on Irbe and got the puck through."
"There was a lot of commotion in front and I just couldn't pick it out on time," Irbe said. "And when I saw it, it was already off the stick, so there was no time to react."
Joe Louis Arena was still rocking when Draper wristed a shot from the left circle over Irbe's left shoulder, giving the Red Wings' "Grind Line" three goals in the first two games of the best-of-seven series.
"We feel strong playing down low and getting loose pucks and creating chances for one another," said Draper, who ended a 15-game drought. "Maybe we feel that we can be a factor in this series."
Detroit thoroughly outplayed Carolina in salvaging a split. But the Red Wings still need a win at the Raleigh Entertainment and Sports Arena if they are to capture a third Stanley Cup in six years.
"I wouldn't say we're over any hump. We're pleased to get a win and get the series 1-1," Detroit captain Steve Yzerman said. "We just foresee it being difficult. Both teams are trying to win the Stanley Cup here and have a chance to do that. So I think it's going to be a real struggle right to the end in every game."
Game Three is Saturday in Carolina.
Rod Brind'Amour scored for the Hurricanes, who had not allowed more than two goals since Game Four of the Eastern Conference semifinals at Montreal and were 7-0 when tied after two periods.
"If you lose the first one, you're happy with the split. When you win the first one, you're not happy with the split," Carolina captain Ron Francis said. "We spent a little too much time in the box. We have to be a little smarter with that. We can't keep giving them seven, eight power plays a night."
The Red Wings scored first for the second time in as many games.
After killing a penalty to Draper just 85 seconds into the first period, they went on the defensive again when defenseman Steve Duchesne was sent to the box for shoving Jeff Daniels to the ice at 5:21.
But Maltby came through with Detroit's league-leading seventh shorthanded goal, finishing off a 2-on-1 by putting a wrist shot from the right faceoff dot over Irbe's left shoulder.
"Nick and Chris (Chelios) just made a great play on the boards and I was able to pick it up and go," Maltby said. "Irbe was just leaning a little bit to his blocker side and I just tried to place it. And I was just fortunate to beat him in an open spot."
Winger Sami Kapanen, who plays the point on the Hurricanes' power play, was trapped in the Red Wings' zone, sending Maltby away with Lidstrom. Maltby joined teammate Brett Hull as the only players with more than one shorthanded goal in the playoffs.
The Red Wings had three chances to extend the lead but could not get anything going on the power play. Just 44 seconds into their second advantage, they surrendered a shorthanded goal as Brind'Amour picked off a cross-ice pass from defenseman Fredrik Olausson, broke in alone on Hasek and lifted a shot under the crossbar.
It was the first goal by a member of Carolina's "BBC Line" in eight games. And it turned out to be the Hurricanes' last shot for nearly 18 minutes.
Like Detroit, Carolina could get nothing going with the extra man, failing to generate a shot during a pair of power plays in the second period. The drought finally ended with 7:34 to go in the period, when Gelinas tested Dominik Hasek with a blast from the top of the left faceoff circle.
Several players complained of bad ice conditions, but Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice refused to use that as an excuse for his team, which managed one shot on its first six power plays.
"There are definitely times on the power play when it did cause some problems. I mean, it was obvious," he said. "I think regardless of what seat you had in the building tonight, there was not a lot of crispness."
But the Red Wings were unable to cash in on their territorial advantage.
Maltby had a chance to break the deadlock but golfed a rebound wide of the net off his backhand with just under five minutes to go in the second, a period that ended with Detroit owning a 17-11 edge in shots. It could have been even more lopsided, but Carolina recorded 21 blocks, including four apiece by defensemen Glen Wesley and Sean Hill.
"Honestly, it really wasn't frustrating at all," Yzerman said. "We hung in there, we were generating chances. I think everybody felt pretty good. Going into the third, we just tried to stick with what we were doing. In general, we felt pretty good the way we were playing. There wasn't any frustration."