Alex Nedeljkovic has fought hard to stutter in order to be more consistent than the team in front of him.
He has shown the Detroit Red Wings how kind he can be at times, however, and that he can continue to serve their goaltending campaign for several more seasons.
Thursday's performance at the PNC Arena was similar to that of a 46-save experience.
"Anytime you can get a shutout in this league it's always special," said Nedeljkovic. "Maybe tonight was a little bit more."
Nedeljkovic came up with a fantastic rookie reason with Carolina in 2020-21, finishing third in the Calder Trophy balloting. Instead of being honored with a new contract, he was sent to Detroit for a discount price.
The Red Wings (29-35-10) surprised a Carolina club who is third overall in the league and is battling for a major league win. It was Nedeljkovic's third shutout this season and his sixth season.
In the second period, Moritz Seider scored with 13 seconds remaining. Adam Erne and Filip Zadina added goals.
Obviously, Ned was outstanding, and he was absolutely great, coach Jeff Blashill said. I know this one meant a lot to him, so good for him. I thought we battled, and we remained with it. We were good at goaltending, and that allowed us to find a path to victory.
Nedeljkovic stated that he never expressed any displeasure about North Carolina.
It's a game, but there's a business side to it, he said. They had to make (the decision) they thought was best for them, and honestly, it's a really good move for me as well. I was given an opportunity here to play a triad of games and I'm very pleased with the opportunity.
"It hasn't been the best of seasons, but it is part of growing up, part of learning, part of maturing, and learning to be a good hockey player."
Nedeljkovic's (19-21-9, 3.27 goals-against average,.903 save percentage) has been up and down all season.
I think he's continued to work and to be solution-focused and strive and seek ways to get out of this, Blashill said. I think he hasn't gotten too down on himself. I think sometimes that's critical when you go through difficult situations.
Nedeljkovic's 55 games are the most he has played since his final season in juniors in 2015-16.
It's been a fantastic opportunity to play a lot of games, Nedeljkovic said. Is it possible to have been a little more consistent, a little better overall? Yes. But that's part of learning. It's also an advantage to play a game. You'll not have your best every night.
Blashill did not intend to have Nedeljkovic play this much. However, Thomas Greiss struggled much of the season and spent time on injured reserve and in the COVID protocol.
"I've had a lot of success," Nedeljkovic said. "I'm trying to embrace it. I want to be in the net every night. I would like to play all of the 82 games for a long time. For me, it's about having fun and treasuring the moment, and whenever I get on the ice, I'm not taking it for granted."