Holmstrom scored the go-ahead goal in the second period while Conklin finished with 27 saves in his debut to help the Red Wings beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 on Monday night, giving Detroit its second road victory in two tries this season.
Nicklas Lidstrom had a first-period goal for Detroit, and Henrik Zetterberg added an empty-net score in the final seconds to seal the game after the Red Wings barely missed on several chances to build the lead after Holmstrom's third goal of the season.
Conklin, who signed as a free agent in July, sat the first two games behind Chris Osgood for the defending Stanley Cup champions. He came through with a solid performance against the Hurricanes, from his stop of Brandon Sutter on a 2-on-1 rush in the second period to several saves as the Hurricanes pushed for the tying score in the third.
"There's always more nerves in the first game with a new team," Conklin said. "You always want to impress, too. You try not to do too much and play outside of yourself. It's nice to contribute. It was nice to get in there early instead of sitting."
Coach Mike Babcock saw enough from Conklin to be encouraged about Detroit's depth in net.
"We wanted to get him in early," he said. "We didn't want to wait because he's the new guy here to our program."
Holmstrom and Lidstrom provided just enough offense, with both of their goals coming on the power play. Carolina certainly helped Detroit with six penalties in the second period, including a slashing penalty on Sergei Samsonov that set up Holmstrom's score.
The game followed a familiar pattern for Carolina, which has fallen behind in all three games this season. This time, it was only by a single goal, but the Hurricanes couldn't complete the comeback in their final outing before a six-game road swing. That trip includes visits to Cup finalist Pittsburgh and playoff teams Anaheim and Montreal.
"I don't feel like we hit full-stride tonight," Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette said. "We came out with I think a better stride in the second period and started to generate some chances, but then you've got guys sitting (for penalties). That just took away from it. We've been taking -- I think -- lazy penalties for the first three games. These hooking and holding penalties have got to stop because they're going to kill us."
Detroit -- coming off a 3-2 victory at Ottawa on Saturday -- pushed ahead for good on a perfectly executed play. Brian Rafalski sent the puck to the left side to Marian Hossa, who quickly sent a touch pass to Holmstrom at the top of the crease for the short putaway past Ward and the 2-1 lead at 5:04 of the second.
The Red Wings had plenty of chances to increase their lead, starting with a power play followed almost immediately by a four-minute penalty on Carolina defenseman Tim Gleason. But they came up empty, then hit both the crossbar and the post on third-period shots as they tried to put the game away before Zetterberg's score.
- Carolina will not play at home again until Nov. 1 against the Edmonton Oilers, whom the Panthers beat in seven games in the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals.
- The Hurricanes wore their new alternate black uniforms for the first time. The Hurricanes plan to wear the uniforms for 15 home games this season.
- Lidstrom's first-period goal was the first time Detroit scored first in a game this season.
- The game was a rematch of the 2002 Stanley Cup Finals series won in five games by the Red Wings and the only meeting this year.