The Detroit Red Wings attempted to snap their 6-game losing streak and 0-6-and-2 overall losing streak opposite a team which they have trouble beating in the Florida Panthers this afternoon.
Sunday’s game kicked off the second 2-game series between the teams, and the Red Wings…won…in stirring fashion?
According to Ken Daniels, the Red Wings earned their first win in 20 tries in the State of Florida via a 4-1 victory over the Panthers, a win in which Givani Smith got a Gordie Howe Hat Trick, Troy Stecher had 2 assists, Thomas Greiss earned his first win as a Wing with 36 stops, and Detroit kicked the Panthers off their winless-to-start-the-season streak with a complete game–minus Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi, and, for most of the game, Luke Glendening.
Prior to the game, we knew from Panthers coach Joel Quenneville that Chris Driedger was going to start opposite Thomas Greiss, and that Mason Marchment would get into the lineup as the Panthers continued to rotate their taxi squad in and out of the active roster.
#FlaPanthers lines in warmups
Verhaeghe – Barkov – Duclair
Huberdeau – Wennberg- Hornqvist
Vatrano – Luostarinen – Tippett
Marchment – Lammikko- Acciari
Weegar – Ekblad
Gudas – Stralman
Yandle – Juuslen
Bobrovsky— Jameson Olive (@JamesonCoop) February 7, 2021
The Wings posted a Twitter video of warm-ups, in which Danny DeKeyser has apparently been deemed healthy enough to skate, despite coach Jeff Blashill’s assertion that DeKeyser won’t be playing unless absolutely necessary as he regains leg strength after major back surgery…
Mathias Brome was also estimated to join the Wings’ lineup from the taxi squad…At the expense of one Anthony Mantha:
No media traveling with the team = FloridaPanthers.com’s Jameson Olive reported the Wings’ lineup news:
No Mantha or Bertuzzi for the Red Wings tonight.
That’s 2 of their top-3 scorers out of the lineup.— Jameson Olive (@JamesonCoop) February 7, 2021
Why is Mantha out? We did not know. Would we find out? Probably not until after the game, when coach Jeff Blashill would give a murky status update.
The starters and scratches were listed as of 2:58 PM:
- SO, both teams took to the ice for their game as they were, and the first period started at 3:08 PM EST:
Glendening drew in for the opening faceoff, tied it up, and Staal chipped and the forwards chased, Gudas gave the puck up to Helm, Detroit ground the puck out along the boards, and Florida chugged out to center, chipped and chased, and Stecher gave Helm an easy “out.”
The first shift took 44 seconds.
When Larkin and Smith and Brome came out, Smith got a slot opportunity from Dylan Larkin just before the 1-minute mark of the first period.
Detroit continued to play solidly over the course of the first two minutes, amassing a 3-0 shot lead, including one by Stecher that went through Driedger but trickled wide.
Greiss stopped the Panthers’ first shot almost 3:30 into the 1st, easily tipping a puck away.
Regrettably, Florida swiped the puck from Larkin, Smith and Brome in tight, and Duclair almost scored a goal via a forehand chip that looked to go off the goalpost past a scrambling Greiss, during a play in which the Panthers racked up 3 shots.
One turnover against the Panthers can do that.
6 minutes into the 1st, both teams were wide awake and battling.
Needless to say, without Bertuzzi and Mantha, the Wings were trying to play a gritty, grinding style of game against the explosive (and healthy) Panthers, and that involved “playing the rope-a-dope” a bit as Florida sustained possession and control in Detroit’s zone.
By the 8-minute mark, the shots stood at 5-5, and Detroit was playing “on its back foot.”
Robby Fabbri generated a Grade-A scoring chance on Driedger 8:45 into the 1st…
Bobby Ryan was over-passing on that line with Fabbri and now Brome, so Florida was able to stifle the Wings’ shot opportunities…
And that line got hemmed in with Staal and Stecher, with Florida forcing Greiss to stop two huge stops to keep the game scoreless just short of 12 minutes in.
Disappointingly, Luke Glendening left the ice and headed to the locker room after absorbing a heavy hit to the chin from Radko Gudas. Gudas was not penalized for the hit.
So the depleted Red Wings continued 13:20 into the 1st period, and further still, with Namestnikov, Nielsen and Gagner forming the Wings’ 3rd line…
Greiss tweaked his mask at 13:54 and had to stop play to readjust it…
And the Wings and Panthers traded chances–or the lack of them–for the next few minutes, with Bobby Ryan visiting the Panthers’ bench on another heavy hit from a Panthers defenseman.
Ultimately, the Panthers began to take greater and greater control over the game and its pace of play, taking a 10-6 shot advantage at 15:28, the final TV timeout of the period.
The other issue is that every Wings player was a tentative shooter. When the Red Wings are having a hard time shooting the puck because of a lack of confidence, you end up with the shaken-up lines struggling mightily to generate offense.
Vladislav Namestnikov dodged a bullet late in the 1st after smearing a Panther in the head, from behind, into the boards sans injury…
Blashill seemed to hit on a line while pushing buttons on the Red Wings’ line blender, placing Zadina on a productive line with Larkin and Smith…
Greiss made a bit stop on Lustarinen with 1:48 remaining…
Mathias Brome, Bobby Ryan and Robby Fabbri got the puck back to Jon Merrill, and the puck trickled through Driedger off defenseman MacKenzie Weegear, but Dreidger held on…
And that was that for the 1st period.
Here are the individual stats after 1 period:
- The teams took to the ice for the 2nd period tied 0-0, at even strength, at 4:00 PM.
- The Wings also returned to bad news:
UPDATE: Luke Glendening (upper body) will not return.— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) February 7, 2021
Namestnikov, Helm and Erne started the 2nd period with Staal and Stecher, and they forced the Panthers to ice the puck, though Florida was afforded a center-ice draw 8 seconds into the 2nd.
Darren Helm tipped the puck out of trouble in the Wings’ slot opposite the Huberdeau line, and Detroit changed lines.
Nemeth was reunited with Hronek, too, which is a partnership I believe works better than Hronek and Djoos.
That meant that Jon Merrill had to do some heavy lifting with Djoos, who’s wonderful offensively but a bit skittish defensively, and the Wings looked a bit skittish as a team, frankly.
- That being said, Marc Staal skated toward the Panthers’ net, slid the puck back to Troy Stecher, and with Nielsen and Gagner in front, Staal tipped the puck past Chris Driedger to give the Wings a 1-0 lead.
- Detroit led 1-0 at 2:56 of the 2nd.
Florida bucked up and battled back heavily, firing pucks toward and near Greiss as Detroit struggled to defend against an energized and reawakened Panthers team.
Perhaps Detroit needed to lull the Panthers to sleep again.
Namestnikov of all people buzzed the Panthers’ net after Anthony Duclair was stopped by Greiss, and Bobby Ryan battled a Panther down low, so the Panthers were up and aggressive, but Detroit was feeling its oats as well.
As Mickey Redmond noted, the Panthers made it hard for Detroit to get through center ice, and that prevented a lot of scoring chances, but Detroit was still getting the odd high-quality chance off against Driedger.
Greiss made a couple of strong stops down low, nearly 8 minutes into the 2nd period, mostly because Florida’s neutral zone trap-and-counter-attack was damn good, but Detroit was keeping Florida to the perimeter chance-wise, mostly.
Robby Fabbri also made a really nice shot block on Gudas, only to be hacked by Gudas (uncalled) for his efforts…
Almost 11 minutes into the 2nd perriod, Nielsen, Gagner and Zadina = line blender + Duclair turning on Hronek to generate a scoring chance + Ekblad to Barkov for a high shot + Verhaege fired the puck wide and the rebound went off Greiss’ shoulder, all thanks to a turnover at center ice.
Going the other way, Robby Fabbri set up bobby Ryan for a great 2-on-1 chance vs. Yandle, and Ryan plain old missed the pass, continuing his struggles to get his stick on passes of late.
Detroit was being out-shot 7-5 in the 2nd period and 19-17 overall with 7:54 remaining in the 2nd period/at 13:06.
As Detroit battled back, Djoos, Brome and Zadina worked with Larkin and Merrill to generate scoring opportunities, cycling well along the perimeter, but Florida ultimately stifled the Wings’ best chances.
14:00 into the 2nd, the Wings were playing cautious, “safe” hockey, nursing that 1-0 lead until something better happened for them.
After a set of “almosts,” Greiss had to bail out Smith when he turned the puck over to Verhaeghe, and Greiss made a lovely stop.
Hronek responded with a fine point-shot bomb of his own on Dreidger at 15:15, but Namestnikov could not screen the Florida goaltender enough to restrict his vision.
Nielsen of all people also generated a scoring chance that went wide.
Dylan Larkin also got hooked heavily by Juulsen while skating through the slot, trying to set up a streaking and pinching Troy Stecher.
- FINALLY, Keith Yandle fumbled the puck to Bobby Ryan, he IMMEDIATELY fed Givani Smith in the slot, and Smith registered his 2nd NHL goal as the 2nd period wound down.
- Smith made it 2-0 at 17:02.
Detroit was being out-shot 24-19 with 1:44 remaining in the 2nd, but the quality of the Panthers’ shots was middling, and Greiss could see most of what he was stopping, so Detroit was controlling the rebounds.
Then Troy Stecher hit the crossbar behind a screened Driedger, and Larkin and Fabbri streaked in on another chance, with the Wings not able to convert…
- And after Noel Acciari blocked a shot off the ankle, Namestnikov and Vatrano traded roughing minors for trying to start a fight, but they were prevented from doffing gloves by the referees and linesmen at 19:32.
- The teams began a 4-on-4 stretch…
And Sasha Barkov tried to race in on Greiss, but Nemeth stopped Barkov cold.
Here are the Wings and Panthers’ individual stats after 2. Detroit was out-shot 12-8 in the 2nd and 24-20 overall. FSD had the scoring chances at 10-10.
- The Red Wings and Panthers returned to the ice for the 3rd period with Detroit up 2-0 at 4:55 PM.
- Detroit hoped to protect its lead as the 3rd period began with the teams on 4-on-4 play.
Florida won the initial draw and Weegar flipped the puck in on Greiss, who made an easy stop.
Larkin, Fabbri, Hronek and Nemeth worked together, but the Panthers were the oens with jump, and even a Sam Gagner bump-off of a Panthers player could not yield a Wings goal-though the Wings shot the puck toward Driedger twice.
The Wings “killed” the 4-on-4 and surrendered another long shot on Greiss, who easily saw the puck and easily stopped it.
- Sadly, off a Panthers faceoff win in deep, Anton Stralman ripped a hard shot at the net, and Alexander Wennberg tipped the puck past Greiss at 2:09, giving Florida lots of life and a 2-1 deficit.
Here’s a closer look at Alex Wennberg’s deflection goal! 🔭— FOX Sports Panthers (@FOXPanthers) February 7, 2021
2 #DETvsFLA 1 #FlaPanthers #OneTerritory #NHL
Watch @FlaPanthers 🏒:
📺: FOX Sports Florida
📱: https://t.co/V26NoCiTi2 pic.twitter.com/VH6LtmkLMb
- Wennberg made it 2-1 at 2:09 of the 3rd.
Zadina, Larkin and Brome had a really good post-goal shift, with Staal ultimately feeding a hopping-over-the-boards Gagner for a quality scoring chance on the rebound of Staal’s shot.
Detroit’s Ryan-Nielsen-Gagner line also cycled down low for a bit before Florida was able to chip the puck out of their zone, and they lost Aleksandr Barkov to a jammed wrist for a bit.
Ryan regained control of the puck and chipped it in on Driedger…as did Vladislav Namestnikov, from the slot, on a pass from Adam Erne of all people.
Even when the Wings turned the puck over, they were demonstrative and determined, with Djoos and Merrill foiling three successive Panthers attempts to cycle and shoot in the Wings’ end.
Greiss got buzzed by Duclair, too, and Duclair lost his stick and the puck, which Greiss sent away.
6:30 into the 3rd, Florida was trying to push back, but it was the Panthers who were stuck in the Wings’ muddy track.
Greiss also made a great shoulder save on Tippett, affording the Wings a TV timeout as Greiss battled the puck out of play off his shoulder.
Detroit and FLorida began to trade chances, however:
Brome skated in on Driedger and was stifled in the slot; Florida headed into the Wings’ zone 3-on-1, but Greiss and Hronek made huge stops…
Detroit went the other way, and Robby Fabbri swept the rebound of Givani Smith’s shot past Driedger, with Troy Stecher setting up the play!
Detroit led 3-1 at 9:11. Fabbri scored from Smith and Stecher.
Florida continued to press…Detroit continued to menace threateningly in Florida’s zone…
Some 11:40 into the 3rd, Larkin made a fantastic back-check to swipe the puck from Luostarinen…
As Florida really kicked the afterburners into high gear, Greiss made a massive stop on Ekblad while being interfered with by Tippett…
- And Givani Smith got in a fight after whacking Weegar with a heavy hit, and Smith took down Yandle…
- Smith got 2 and 5 for a hit to the head and fighting, and Yandle got 2 and 5 for roughing and fighting at 12:38.
- Shortly thereafter, Sam Gagner went to the penalty box for holding Barkov at 13:47…
Marc Staal took a puck to the head off a Yandle shot on the power play, but Staal was OK…
Florida buzzed and buzzed through the Wings’ zone, but Detroit’s PK was solid and the “box” held true.
Florida continued to battle their way back against the Wings’ dogged defense after the power play expired, and with 3:30 left in the 3rd, Detroit iced the puck down to 3:23 on the clock.
- Florida pulled Chris Driedger at 16:37 and forced a faceoff against a tired Wings team, but Sam Gagner won the faceoff…
- After the TV timeout, Florida basically rolled out power play units, and INSTEAD, VLADISLAV NAMESTNIKOV SCORED THE 4-1 EMPTY NET GOAL to give the Wings the victory and Florida’s first regulation loss of the season.
- Namestnikov salted it away at 17:18.
Detroit gets an empty net goal with 2:42 left, lead #FlaPanthers 4-1. Their eight-game losing streak will end as will Florida’s run of not losing in regulation. For the moment, Panthers are 6-0-2. Will be the final NHL team to lose in regulation this season.— George Richards (@GeorgeRichards) February 7, 2021
So a shorthanded, undermanned team will have won a road game against Florida. What a nice game.
Thomas Greiss gets his first win, Ken Daniels says the Wings get their first win in Florida in 20 tries, they win for the first time in 9 in Sunrise, etc. etc.
Thomas Greiss was tough today with 36 saves.#DETvsFLA #FlaPanthers #OneTerritory #NHL
Watch @FlaPanthers 🏒:
📺: FOX Sports Florida
📱: https://t.co/V26NoCiTi2 pic.twitter.com/N8LsXPsMVL— FOX Sports Panthers (@FOXPanthers) February 7, 2021