The Detroit Red Wings enjoyed their most rewarding weekend in an otherwise dismal season. They'll carry those good vibes into their home matchup with Carolina on Tuesday.
The Wings snapped a six-game winless streak (0-5-1) by edging another Original Six team, Chicago, 2-1, on Friday. They followed that up with an even bigger surprise, defeating Tampa Bay 5-4 in a shootout on Sunday. The Wings (17-48-5, 39 points) had lost 16 consecutive games to the Lightning.
Goalie Jonathan Bernier was the star in both games, turning aside 32 shots against the Blackhawks and 33 more against the Lightning, plus two more in the shootout.
"I think we're doing a pretty good job of not giving up elite, elite chances. But when you do that, you give up shots in traffic and he's done a good job of finding the puck through traffic," coach Jeff Blashill said. "The one gets tipped in by our own guy. So another real good night, just solid, consistent effort by Bernie."
Detroit's offense has come in trickles much of the season but its top guns delivered against the Lightning. Tyler Bertuzzi and Anthony Mantha each had a goal and three assists. Dylan Larkin contributed a goal and two assists, then scored in the shootout. Robby Fabbri had a goal in regulation and the game-winner in the shootout.
"We played really good," Mantha told NHL.com. "I think the chemistry is coming back. I think we kind of saw a glimpse of how we finished last year, and hopefully it could go that way until the end of the season."
Any victory for the team with the league's worst record is welcome but ending the streak of futility against Tampa Bay was especially satisfying.
"We knew they played (Saturday) night," Larkin said. "It's hard back-to-back coming in from Boston. We've got them two more times the rest of the year here. It'll be fun playing these guys. These games matter for them. We've got to play like that every time. We showed emotion, we stuck together and we got great goaltending."
All of the remaining games matter for the Hurricanes (37-25-5, 79 points), who are fighting for a playoff berth. They have won two straight following a four-game slide and will be playing their fifth consecutive road game as part of a season-high six-game road trip.
They edged the Islanders 3-2 in overtime on Saturday to end the losing streak, then pummeled Pittsburgh 6-2 on Sunday. Morgan Geekie made his NHL debut unforgettable, as he scored two goals and added an assist after getting called up from the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League.
"How about him, right?" Justin Williams, who also scored twice, told NHL.com. "I talked to him before the game. I said, 'You ready?' He said, 'Yeah.' I said, 'You nervous?' He said, 'Maybe a little bit.' I said, 'Perfect, just do your thing.' He certainly did it."
Geekie, 21, became the second player in franchise history to net two goals in his debut.
"I tried to take everything in that I could. The guys were great. Everyone was on my side and welcoming me in with open arms," Geekie said to NHL.com. "I can't thank the guys and coaching staff enough. Kudos to them. I'll just try to keep things going."
Carolina has defeated the Wings twice this season by scores of 7-3 and 2-0.
--Field Level Media
Red Wings take on spoiler role in facing Hurricanes
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