HURRICANES (34-35-11) at RED WINGS (38-27-15)
TV: FS-CR, FS-D+
Last 10: Carolina 4-4-2; Detroit 5-3-2
Season series: The Detroit Red Wings are going for a three-game sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes. The teams haven't seen each other since Nov. 21, when the Red Wings won 4-3 at Joe Louis Arena.
Big story: The Red Wings locked up their 23rd consecutive trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Wednesday, but they're battling for position as they prepare for the postseason. Carolina is finishing its fifth consecutive non-playoff season.
Hurricanes: Carolina's 5-2 loss to the Washington Capitals in its home finale Thursday was the Hurricanes' third in a row; they've had seven losing streaks of at least three games this season.
"It wasn't good enough, clearly," captain Eric Staal said of his team's effort. "We had breakdowns, and they ended up in our net. It just wasn't good enough, and there's not much else to say. We needed to be better than we were. I feel bad for the fans who were here watching and came out to support us."
Red Wings: It figures to be a night of celebration at Joe Louis Arena, where the Red Wings will play their home finale with the knowledge that they'll be back in 10 days or so for Game 3 of their first-round playoff series.
The Red Wings will go into the postseason as one of the two wild-card teams, meaning they'll play either the Boston Bruins or Pittsburgh Penguins. They locked up their postseason berth two nights earlier by earning a point in a 4-3 shootout loss at Pittsburgh.
Forward Daniel Alfredsson feels the Red Wings are going into the postseason on an upswing after a season filled with injuries and call-ups -- 11 players who dressed for at least one game this season hadn't been born the last time Detroit missed the playoffs, in 1990. One of the kids, Riley Sheahan, scored the tying goal late in the third period against the Penguins, forcing overtime and assuring the Red Wings of a trip to the playoffs.
"I like the way we're playing," Alfredsson said. "We're going to play Pittsburgh or Boston, two very strong teams, but we're playing well; I don't think we'll go in and be the favorites, but we're going to keep doing what we've done all year, and that's go out there and give it everything we have."
Who's hot: Jiri Tlusty scored one of the Hurricanes' goals Thursday and has three in his past four games. … Alfredsson has five points in his past five games and shares the Red Wings lead with 49.
Injury report: The Hurricanes are without defenseman Andrej Sekera (lower body). … Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (finger surgery) and forwards Stephen Weiss (sports hernia surgery) and Henrik Zetterberg (back surgery) are on injured reserve. Forward Daniel Cleary (sprained knee) is out indefinitely.
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