Nedeljkovic gets his revenge, makes 46 saves in 3-0 win over Hurricanes

The former Carolina goalie stymied his old team to win for the first time as a visitor at PNC Arena

Red Wings goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic gloves a shot while defenseman Gustav Lindstrom defends Hurricanes forward Seth Jarvis during Detroit's 3-0 win Thursday in Raleigh. (Chris Seward / AP Photo)

RALEIGH — When the Carolina Hurricanes decided to trade Calder Trophy finalist Alex Nedeljkovic and rebuild their goaltending from the ground up last offseason, there was plenty of consternation in Raleigh and beyond.

Their decision has proven wise — Carolina has allowed the fewest goals in the NHL this season. But for one night, Nedeljkovic made them regret giving up on him.

The Red Wings goalie made 46 saves to lead Detroit to a 3-0 win in front of 17,811 Thursday at PNC Arena.

“Tip your cap,” Hurricanes forward Jordan Martinook said. “Ned was good.”

The game marked the fifth time this season the Hurricanes — who outshot the Red Wings 46-22 — had 37 or more shots on goal but managed to score one goal or fewer.

“That’s how we want to do it,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “If you’re gonna get zero, at least put up 50 shots. … It’s going to happen when you have a good team.”

Martinook agreed.

“Yeah, it’s crazy,” Martinook added. “Sometimes we’ll score six with 20 shots.”

The Red Wings didn’t score six, but they did take advantage of their chances.

Just after a penalty on Brett Pesce expired, Calder Trophy favorite Moritz Seider took a pass from Dylan Larkin and had his shot trickle through the pads of Carolina goalie Antti Raanta (19 saves) with 13 seconds left in the second period for the game’s first goal.

Detroit doubled its lead early in the third period when Adam Erne beat Tony DeAngelo to the front of the net and scored on a rebound at 3:01, and built it to 3-0 when Filip Zadina whistled a wrist shot past Raanta at 13:33.

All that was left was to see if Nedeljkovic — who lost 5-2 in his previous start in Raleigh against his old team on Dec. 16 — could get his third shutout of the year. He made 17 saves in the third to finish it off, keeping Carolina off the scoreboard despite it having six different players with at least three shots on goal.

It was the 17th time this season the Hurricanes had 40 or more shots. They are 9-6-1 in those games.

“It is frustrating because with those scoring changes you’re supposed to score enough goals to win a hockey game,” Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho said. “So kind of tip your hat to them. … But at the same time, there’s no reason to panic or anything. Just learn from these and be a little bit sharper when we get those changes.”

One area of concern is Carolina’s power play, which went 0 for 3, has gone seven games without scoring and has just one goal in its last 27 chances.

“Just lots of turnovers for no reason,” Brind’Amour said. “Just weird things we’re doing. So (we’ll) definitely be working on that or at least talking about it. It’s tough to get a lot of practice time right now, but that’s an area we’re gonna get better.”

Brind’Amour has said he doesn’t intend to switch around his personnel on the two power play units, and Aho agreed that the top group can get its groove back.

“All five players, I think, are very good power play players,” he said. “It’s just we’ve got to just get maybe on the same page, get one greasy one to get that confidence back. … I’m very confident that we’re going to turn this around.”

Notes: The Hurricanes were shut out for the fourth time this season and the third time since March 3. … Carolina had 85 5-on-5 shot attempts to Detroit’s 37. No Hurricanes player was below 57% in possession. … Martinook won all five of his faceoffs. … Jesperi Kotkaniemi played 13:11 in his first game since being injured March 28. He was the only Hurricanes skater without a shot on goal.