Powerless Red Wings wilt under relentless Hurricanes

Detroit If Tampa Bay isnt the best team in the division, Carolina might be. . . The Red Wings had a good look at both teams this past week, and Carolina looked awfully good Sunday, defeating the Red Wings 2-1, and moving into the Central Division lead. . . Anthony Mantha scored with 10seconds left, his eighth goal, depriving former Plymouth Whalers goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic of the shutout. . . But the Hurricanes did a lot of things well, especially shutting down the Wings, who didnt help themselves by simply not shooting the puck on several scoring occasions. . . For the first part of the game we checked pretty well, we didnt give up a whole bunch of chances, our defensive zone coverage was better, coach Jeff Blashill said. We competed hard. We were sloppy, though, with the puck. Then, we didnt have a close enough shooting mentality. . . We talked even yesterday about when you get into the scoring areas, you have to shoot the puck. We passed up shooting opportunities to shoot the puck and as a result, we didnt create chaos around the net. . Dougie Hamilton shorthanded and Nino Niederreiter scored for Carolina, as the Hurricanes extended their win streak to eight games. . . . The Wings 8-17-4 lost their fifth game in the last six 1-4-1, with Nedeljkovic stopping 25 shots for the victory. . . We played hard, thats a good team over there, forward Dylan Larkin said. It was an emotional game. It was very much like a playoff game. Close checking. I liked how we hung in there with one of the best teams in our division. . We just have to score. We had some chances, but our line, with Fabs Robby Fabbri and Mo Mantha, we had chances, we just have to score. . . BOX SCORE. Carolina 2, Red Wings 1. . Hamilton scored a shorthanded goal at 15. 13, for the games first goal. . . The Wings went scoreless on two power plays, and allowed quality scoring chances for the Hurricanes during those instances, forcing goaltender Jonathan Bernier to turn away several 2-on-1 rushes. . But Hamilton corralled a loose puck, broke free on the odd-man rush, and using his teammate as a decoy, glided into the slot near the hash marks and snapped a shot past Bernier. . . Hes Bernier played great, Larkin said. Every time we need it, hes made great saves. Hes been so solid for us. It gives us confidence. We gave up too many 2-on-1s on the power play and you cant do that. We have to battle a little harder for him, hes been great. . . Hamilton had a great, unexpected scoring chance earlier in the second period. . His dump in caromed out of the corner and slid directly through Berniers crease, before the Red Wings goalie backhanded the puck. . . Carolina 20-6-1 got the insurance goal with Niederreiters 12th. . . Niederreiter and Sebastian Aho skated into the Wings zone on a 2-on-2 rush, Niederreiter took a drop pass from Aho, and using Filip Hronek as a screen, snapped a shot past Bernier just 1. 37 into the third period. Bernier stopped 30 shots, twice frustrating Jordan Martinook on Carolina 2-on-1 rushes in the second period. . . Hes been like this for over a year plus, said Blashill of Berniers goaltending. This is who he is and guys have tons of confidence that hes going to give us a chance to win the hockey game. . . But the Wings had precious little offense against a Hurricanes team defense that made it tough on the Wings to establish anything all day. . The big, mobile Carolina defense consistently broke up potential scoring threats, while the Hurricanes work ethic up and down the lineup never allows for a weak shift. . . They play hard, they never seem to take a night off and thats the approach we have to have, Larkin said. And its there, its coming, we work for each other.

Nikola Jokic, Nuggets tip off second half vs. Grizzlies

The Denver Nuggets return to action for the first time since the NBA All-Star break on Friday, traveling to Memphis, Tenn. , to face a Memphis Grizzlies team as close to full strength it has been on the season. . . Playing its first game in eight days, Denver is looking to conclude a five-game road swing that began on Feb. 27 a perfect 5-0. The Nuggets won the fourth of their consecutive road games on March 4, 113-103 at Indiana, behind three 20-point-plus efforts. . . Among them was Nikola Jokic, who flirted with a triple-double at 20 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. Jokic played his way into a starting spot at last weekends All-Star Game with averages of 27. 1 points, 11 rebounds and 8. 6 assists per game. . . I am playing the way Ive played since I was a kid, and Im just lucky to have coaches who gave me freedom in the past, and Nuggets coach Michael Malone gave me the freedom right now, Jokic said in his post-All-Star Game press conference of his ability to make an impact in multiple phases of the game from the center position. . . This season marked Jokics third straight as an All-Star, and the Denver post presence is a contender for the 2020-21 Most Valuable Player Award. . . Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins campaigned for Grizzlies second-year guard Ja Morant to receive an All-Star roster spot. Although Morant did not land his first All-Star selection, the 2019-20 NBA Rookie of the Year leads a Memphis squad in contention for a playoff berth with 19. 8 points and 7. 8 assists per game. . . Morant missed eight games early in the campaign due to an ankle injury. Since his return on Jan. 16, the Grizzlies are two games over . 500 — including a 127-112 defeat of Washington on Wednesday in their first game back from the break. . . Morant was one of two Grizzlies with double-doubles in the win, scoring 21 points and dishing 10 assists. Jonas Valanciunas scored 29 points and grabbed 20 rebounds. . . Valanciunas likely draws the assignment opposite Jokic on Friday, as Memphis seeks back-to-back big defensive performances. On Wednesday against Washington, it was guard Dillon Brooks with the honors against NBA-leading scorer Bradley Beal. . . Brooks helped limit Beal to 21 points on 6-of-22 shooting from the floor. . . I just rise to the occasion and take on the challenge and see if he can last a full 48 minutes with a lot of physicality, Brooks said in his postgame press conference. . . With Valanciunas on Jokic on the interior, Brooks and the Grizzlies perimeter defenders will try to contain Jamal Murray. The Denver guard comes into Fridays matchup averaging 21. 8 points per game and has scored at least 23 points in every game since Feb. 14. . . On Feb. 19, Murray scored a career-high 50 points against Cleveland. . . Limiting Denver, the NBAs fourth-highest scoring offense at 115. 9 points per game, is not a one- or two-man task. Memphis will be able to go deeper into its rotation than it has much of the season. . . Ravaged by injury much of the season, the Grizzlies welcomed back Justise Winslow from a hip injury on Feb. 20. Brandon Clarke, who missed five games in February due to injuries, grabbed 10 rebounds on Wednesday.