The Red Wings took a 2-0 lead into the third period and lost in the shootout, wasting too many opportunities to put away an inferior opponent.
The refs had a bit of a doozy in this game, as bad calls cost the Wings directly on one called-off goal and then indirectly as a call was let go, leading to another. Regardless, the Wings should have been able to overcome this against the Panthers. Detroit went 1-for-4 on the power play and Florida put up an 0-for-2. Shots were close at 26-25.
Jimmy Howard put up a good performance, especially in the second period where he made three big saves on point-blank scoring chances. All-in-all, it just wasn't enough to get the job done and he took another loss.
1st Period 10:26 - Detroit Goal (PP): Todd Bertuzzi (wrist shot) from Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen
After having a goal waved off for a guy being in front and outside the crease, the refs decide to let a similar one count as Bert finds gold on the doorstep and jams it home. After a few chances on the first half of the PP, the Panthers get a clear and Detroit gets their first unit out. Datsyuk gains the line and hands to Bertuzzi on the boards to get the zone setup. Bert tries to feather it back to Datsyuk driving to the net, but the pass is knocked down by Gudbranson, who attempts to get the immediate clear by chipping it up ice on the backhand. This fails when Kronwall keeps it in at the point and feeds to Alfredsson on the other side. Alfie steps to the top of the circle as the Wings set up the umbrella. Florida's D collapses enough for Alfredsson to find Franzen at the top of the opposite circle across the ice. Mule whips a wrister at the front of the net with Bertuzzi screening. Datsyuk tips the puck on its way in to change the angle. Thomas stops it, but Bert is there to slam it in. Kronwall will get a half-plus for the keep-in on this play.
2nd Period 06:47 - Detroit Goal: Pavel Datsyuk (wrist shot) from Jonathan Ericsson and Johan Franzen
The Wings make it 2-0 on a good passing play in front which leaves the Red Wings' best player mysteriously wide open on the back door for the easy put-away. A step-up in the offensive zone leads the Panthers to turn it over in clearing it. Kronwall goes back to collect with one man forechecking and immediately breaks that pressure with a pass to Franzen turning at his own blue line. Mule skates up the right wing side with room as Bert crosses in the middle and Datsyuk trails back between them. Franzen gets all the way to the corner before Olsen and Kopecky threaten to pinch him off, but he's able to turn and feed it back to Ericsson wide open at the point. By the time this happens, Gudbranson is behind the goal line after having taken out Bertuzzi driving the net and isn't in position. Ericsson steps to the top of the circle on a huge windup for a slapper, which freezes Fleischmann in front and also Goc in the high slot. Nobody is ready for Riggy to pull back from the slapper and instead deliver a pass to Datsyuk wide open on the back door. Ericsson will get a bonus plus and a half for two good plays leading up to the goal (the turnover-creating pinch and the slapper windup). Kronwall and Franzen's quick turn catches the Panthers over-collapsing, which will earn both Kronner and Mule a half-plus.
3rd Period 05:00 - Florida Goal: Sean Bergenheim (tip in) from Dmitry Kulikov and Aleksander Barkov
The Panthers get on the board with a wrist shot through traffic which finds a stick and gets redirected through Howard. A simple dump-in turns into possession when Kronwall gets bodied off a puck and taken down by Bergenheim, allowing Barkov to get to it in the corner and feed it up top. Kulikov gets it at the point and waits just long enough for the traffic to coalesce around the front before feathering a wrister into the traffice. The puck gets past Abdelkader going out to challenge and tips off Bergenheim's stick near the top of the circle. Howard is moving over to square in case a shot he expects to go wide finds a player, but the deflected puck gets right through his 5-hole as he moves while partially screened. There's a line change going on behind this play, which creates the opening for Barkov to get it cleanly (otherwise Alfredsson would be there). I'm going to clear Ericsson and Weiss on this play as victims of this line change. Everybody else will just keep their minuses. I personally think Kronwall is tripped on this play and that helps lead to this goal, but all of Kronwall, Alfredsson, and Abdelkader have an opportunity after that uncalled trip to stop the play and they don't.
3rd Period 14:38 - Florida Goal: Nick Bjugstad (wrist shot) from Eric Gudbranson and Dylan Olsen
The Panthers tie it on a strong play off the boards and a finish by another one of those asshole Panthers players whose name is annoying to spell. Datsyuk loses a faceoff in the defensive zone. Florida crosses points with it and then has a shot blocked to the corner on Howard's right. Bjugstad collects it low and skates along the boards before being turned back by Bertuzzi. As he turns back in to the coverage of Datsyuk, Scottie Upshall cuts between them and runs just enough of a screen to free Bjugstad and allow him to turn the corner and head to the goal from the goal line. Bugle's Dad then runs unimpeded to the edge of the crease before roofing a puck over Howard to tie it up. I don't like this goal by Howard as it's short-side high. Regardless, there's plenty wrong with the coverage. Bertuzzi will have his minus halved as he does his basic job of preventing the escape all the way up the board while minding his point coverage. Franzen will be cleared as he's on the other side of the ice completely. Datsyuk will get two minuses. The clean faceoff win followed by getting walked by Bjugstad will split those between turnover and coverage minuses. Smith will keep his minus, as he's the net-front guy and doesn't prevent this, but that issue isn't as bad, considering he has other areas to cover (specifically Upshall driving the net-front). The defensive coverage blown here is on Quincey, who is tangled up with Huberdeau behind the Wings' net for absolutely zero reason. If Quincey stays at the near post like he should, then Bugglebad doesn't get the lane to walk into for this shot. Quincey will get a minus.
1st Period 00:13 - Scottie Upshall (delay of game): Upshall wins the faceoff with his glove, which is illegal nowadays. This is more a mistake on his part, but Weiss does well to tie him up and help him make a bad decision. Half-plus for Weiss.
1st Period 09:19 - Aleksander Barkov (tripping): Detroit gets a turnover in the neutral zone and Alfredsson turns to get it up ice, but gets hauled down by the stick of Barkov. Alfredsson will get a plus. He keeps his feet moving and protects the puck well here.
1st Period 11:52 - Sean Bergenheim (hooking): Niklas Kronwall skates through center, giving Bergenheim a soft shoulder-deke to get around him. Instead of just letting him go, Bergenheim puts his stick out and corkscrews Kronwall, taking a penalty. Kronwall will get a plus. It's such a stupid penalty to take, but Kronner earned it with the fake out.
2nd Period 00:32 - Stephen Weiss (hooking): The Wings get their first penalty of the game as Weiss battles Barkov for the puck high in the Wings' zone. Barkov gains good position and Weiss gets his stick parallel, taking a penalty for it. This will earn Weiss a minus. Not a terribly strong call, but easy to make.
2nd Period 07:37 - Tomas Tatar (holding): Tatar gets forechecked in the offensive zone, losing the puck for what will become a low 2-on-1 if he doesn't do something. Tatar makes the right play by holding up his man, but he caused the need to do so in the first place. Tatar gets a minus.
3rd Period 08:06 - Eric Gudbranson (tripping): Todd Bertuzzi drives the zone, Johan Franzen feeds to Datsyuk, Datsyuk cuts to a scoring chance, and Gudbranson hauls him down for his trouble. Franzen, Bertuzzi, and Datsyuk will all earn pluses on this play.
3rd Period 17:04 - Todd Bertuzzi (interference): The Wings can't get the puck out from in front of their own net and nearly give up about four goals. Bert takes charge by simply tackling a guy in front. This one's a whole-line screwup. I'm going to give minuses to Datsyuk, Franzen, Bertuzzi, Smith, and Quincey.
-1 to Todd Bertuzzi: Simply too many times the Wings had something starting in the offensive zone and saw it ended by a Bertuzzi mishandle.
+2 to Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, and Joakim Andersson: This line was not only the only one for the Wings that won the possession battle, they absolutely dominated it. Nyquist saw just one attempt on net while on the ice in this one. They brutalized their competition and provided the lion's share of shots.
+1 to Jakub Kindl: I thought he had a solid game playing positional defense in his own end. I want more from him offensively, but I really liked his defense in this game.
I wanted to give Weiss a plus for some decent 2nd period play, but I couldn't shake the nagging feeling that it was more about feeling badly for him than actually holding him to the standard to which he should be held. Smith and Quincey struggled in this game by nature of results. At times they were close to greatness, but the consistency just wasn't there.
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