The Detroit Red Wings take on the 7-and-0 Florida Panthers this evening (7 PM EDT on ESPN+/hulu/97.1 FM), and prior to both teams’ morning skates, the Florida Panthers made the following announcement:
And if you aren’t already aware, tonight’s game is on ESPN+ only:
Friday’s game vs. Florida is the first of eight games to air exclusively on @ESPNPlus during 2021-22 season!
Subscribe: https://t.co/8X8u2yZWxj pic.twitter.com/rIEEjPWskM— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) October 28, 2021
The beat writers didn’t Tweet out lines this morning, so the Red Wings were the first to let us know that the Wings were actually holding a morning skate…
Ken Kal also said, “Hello”…
As far as game previews are concerned, MLive’s Tyler Kuehl set up tonight’s affair…
While the Florida Panthers have faced plenty of off-ice problems this week, but the team on the ice has been outstanding in the early going. They have started a perfect 7-0, and have not taken on many slouches. The Panthers have earned wins over the defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightining, reigning President’s Trophy winners in the Colorado Avalanche and the looked dominant in a 4-1 win over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday.
The two Atlantic Division foes met eight times last season in the restructured Central, with the Panthers winning six of the eight meetings, two of which in overtime.
As did the Free Press’s Marlowe Alter…
Game notes: The new-look Wings host one of the last unbeaten teams, though the Panthers will have a brand-new coach behind the bench. Assistant Andrew Brunette takes over after Joel Quenneville resigned on Thursday night. Quenneville was accused of ignoring the sexual assault allegedly committed by one of his assistants while coaching the Chicago Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup in 2010. After a two-hour meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Thursday, Quenneville tendered his resignation, saying in a statement: “With deep regret and contrition, I announce my resignation as head coach of the Florida Panthers. I want to express my sorrow for the pain this young man, Kyle Beach, has suffered.
“My former team the Blackhawks failed Kyle and I own my share of that. I want to reflect on how all of this happened and take the time to educate myself on ensuring hockey spaces are safe for everyone.”
The Panthers have scored 31 goals against 13 allowed. Wings have 23 goals for and 23 against.
Florida is 7-0-0 this season – boasting a perfect 14 points – and has scored at least four goals in every game. There’s dangerous scoring ability up and down the lineup, with 10 players already tallying at least five points on the season.
Jonathan Huberdeau leads the way with nine points on three goals and six assists, while Sam Bennett (4 goals, 3 assists), Aaron Ekblad (3 goals, 4 assists), Aleksander Barkov (2 goals, 5 assists), Sam Reinhart (2 goals, 5 assists) and Gustav Forsling (7 assists) have all chipped in offensively with seven points.
Sergei Bobrovsky is off to another quick start in goal, with a 1.79 goals-against average and a save percentage of .946. Spencer Knight has earned two starts between the pipes, making 48 total saves on the season.
Detroit’s top line featuring Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi and Lucas Raymond has received plenty of attention as of late, and for good reason. Larkin has five points in the past three games, Bertuzzi is just the fourth Red Wings player to score at least six goals in the first five games of a season, and Raymond leads all NHL rookies in goals (4) and points (8) through seven games.
The Red Wings got a boost from Erne and Robby Fabbri, among others, in Wednesday’s comeback win. Consistency across all four lines is what Blashill has been looking for, and in some cases, anticipating. He commented earlier this week that Detroit’s second line perhaps didn’t have the point totals it deserved based on its level of play.
The Red Wings and Panthers played eight times during the shortened 2020-21 campaign as temporary members of the Central Division. It’s back to the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division for both teams this season, where they’ll go head-to-head four times, including twice in the final seven regular season games.