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Cleaning Out the Litter Box: Red Wings 3, Panthers 2 (Shootout)

Detroit Red Wings v Florida Panthers Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Well, Detroit is in Florida, a state that has not been kind to Detroit in recent memory. The team is coming off yet another loss to Tampa Bay, and they are riding a bad losing streak.

Unfortunately, there is no real reason to believe that our fortunes will improve tonight. I obviously hope I’m wrong.

Most of our readers are really interested in seeing if Jeff Blashill really does put away the line blender. I will believe it when I see it.

This is how it’s felt to write the last few recaps. Let’s hope Detroit can change that!

First Period

Frans Nielsen gets the first Wings chance of the game, throwing a bad angle backhand on net. Reimer keeps it out. I was hoping that Niemi would start, but no such luck.

Barkov gets Florida’s first shot of the game, right into Howard’s chest.

It’s four minutes in, and Larkin - Athanasiou - Mantha take their second shift together. So far, Blashill has not found the line blender. John Torchetti was tasked with hiding it to keep Blashill from getting any ideas.

Ken Daniels tells us that Derek MacKenzie only has 48 career goals, thereby guaranteeing that he will score at some point tonight.

WOW! Athanasiou gets his first of the season on a one-timer from a Larkin feed. Mantha helped create the chance by putting pressure on Florida in their zone. I think these three might be pretty good together.

Jimmy Howard has come up big several times in the first 10 minutes. It would be helpful if Detroit’s players didn’t force him to. The amount of open players the last few games has been very worrisome.

Jonathan Huberdeau takes a goaltender interference penalty with just more than 10 minutes left in the period, and Detroit goes to the first power play.

We get ready to take the faceoff, and....there is another penalty? Wow. Florida is called for faceoff violation penalty, which gives Detroit a 2 minute five-on-three. It’s pretty obvious that Detroit NEEDS to score here. Then Martin Frk launches a one-timer from the point that injures Trocheck.

Detroit sets up Frk for the one timer, but Reimer keeps it out. Just before that, Zetterberg gets a good chance from his knees on a rebound.

Well, we didn’t score on it, but at the same time it wasn’t one of those power plays where they look terrible. They got good chances.

Florida then goes after Abdelkader as revenge for his hit on Barkov last season. Ekblad leads the charge, which is very smart for someone with a concussion history. I’ll take an Ekblad for Abdelkader tradeoff as they both go for 5 minutes.

Mantha lifts a pass to a streaking Athanasiou, who is able to collect it behind the Panthers defense, but he doesn’t have enough room to get a good shot off, and he crashes into Reimer. I have a feeling we’ll see more of that this year.

Jonathan Ericsson takes a brutal interference penalty. No need to take a penalty there, and that gets called every time. What a dumb play. Petrovic puts the puck past him, and Ericsson stands him up too long after the puck was gone.

Jimmy Howard makes a save as Florida crashes the net, but Detroit did a good job of limiting chances on that PK.

Mike Green takes a holding penalty with 2 minutes left in the period, and Florida will finish the first period on the power play. Unless they score.

Which they don’t. The period ends 1-0 Detroit. Detroit’s not playing great, but they are playing well enough to win. They are still losing their men defensively, and that could lead to goals against in the rest of the game.

I’m hoping that Detroit can continue to lead throughout, but am I confident?

Second Period

I’m going to start a new thing on these recaps where I predict what John Keating’s next crazy transition will be. Here’s today’s: "Just like my Netflix queue, the last group of Red Wings games have had some stranger things in them.”

Andreas Athanasiou throws a puck at the net, and Reimer flails around trying to keep it out. It didn’t look like it went in, but it was hard enough to see that they reviewed it. Unsurprisingly, it did not cross the line, and we stay 1-0.

Wow. My oh my. Helm, Glendening, and Nielsen each nearly scored on a crazy sequence in front. Nielsen made a slick pass to Helm, who shot from a bad angle. Glendening did a good job of crashing the net, and Reimer somehow kept it out. Neilsen then looked to have an easy shot on a turnaround off the rebound, but Reimer made a crazy stick save.

Athanasiou and Mantha head up the ice on a break. AA takes a slapper, but it deflects off the defender’s stick and out of play.

Well, this was coming. Jonathan Huberdeau scores on an assist from Dadonov. Trevor Daley did nothing to stop Huberdeau. Just another play from the past few games where we have let opposing forwards get clean shots without any defensive pressure.

Our defense is so bad. Daley takes his man behind the net, and Ericsson follows them behind the net, which leaves the front of the net wide open. Barkov touches the puck in the crease, which knocks it to Huberdeau, who puts it in off a skate.

Detroit challenges the play. Nyquist looked to be holding Barkov in the crease, but it also looked like Barkov was pushing Howard’s pad. We’ll see.

And the call on the ice IS OVERTURNED. It’s goaltender interference. That doesn’t take away from the fact that it was horrible defensive play.

Yep.

Athanasiou is called for holding. Looked like a pretty flimsy call, but OK.

Ekblad to Trocheck to an open Dadonov, who tips it past Howard. Howard had no chance.

Mantha blocks a shot and heads the other way. He tries to drive the net, but the puck is poked behind the net. Athanasiou flies towards the front of the net, but his stick is lifted before he can convert on the Mantha pass from behind the net.

Howard makes a top notch save at one end off Barkov. Nyquist goes end to end and gets his own rebound to tie the game! I guess someone forgot to tell him that we were still in playoff contention. Or maybe that’s a stupid narrative.

“911, what is your emergency?”
“The goose is loose.”

Tatar is out with Nielsen and Frk. So it looks like Torchetti is not very good at hiding things. Also, apparently “a while” is less than two periods.

Nyquist - Zetterberg - Glendening. Because why not? The only time Glendening should be on a line with the other two is if those are the only three forwards left in the game. And maybe not even then.

Tatar is out with Athanasiou and Larkin. Larkin takes a penalty, and Florida goes to the power play. The Wings are able to escape the period without giving up another goal.

I don’t want to go off on a rant, but since Jeff Blashill made such a big deal about how he wasn’t going to mix up the lines for “a while,” for him to not even keep that promise for two periods is ridiculous. Your players have to be able to believe what you say, and this, well, this doesn’t help.

Detroit isn’t playing that well, but they are still in the game with a period to go.

Third Period

Nielsen passes to Helm, who is cutting to the Florida net on the penalty kill. Reimer robs Helm, and we are still at 2-2. Detroit kills the rest of the Larkin penalty that carried over from the second period.

Xavier Ouellet decides that being at five on five isn’t fun, so he takes a penalty. After watching the replay, it looks like a pretty bad call.

Howard robs Dadonov on a one-time setup in the slot. BTW, Florida now has 38 shots, and we still have 16 minutes left in the 3rd period.

Frk is on a line with Zetterberg and Abdelkader. Cool.

Helm - Nielsen - Glendening. The defense pairs have changed as well.

Andreas Athanasiou’s speed draws a penalty, as Aaron Ekblad is forced to hook him.

Frk may have just broken Mantha. The power play did a nice job to set up Frk for the one timer, but he cranked it off Mantha, who immediately went to the dressing room. Hopefully the friendly fire won’t be as damaging as it was last year from Nick Jensen.

Phew. Mantha is back for his next shift. And he nearly scores! Athanasiou throws a lob pass down the ice and this time it’s Mantha’s turn to be on the receiving end. He nearly pokes the puck past Reimer, but not quite.

Dadonov with a really dirty play as he hits Kronwall as both are going for a puck where icing was waved off. He puts Kronwall awkardly into the boards, and he receives nothing. What a dirty play.

Larkin takes another penalty, and it’s beginning to become an issue. He’s taking way too many penalties this season.

Howard makes another tremendous save on the power play. If he wasn’t at the top of his game, this game would be really ugly.

I’ve given up trying to keep track of the lines. Let’s just say that the line blender has been turned up to high.

The period ends and we go to overtime tied 2-2.

For anyone who thought that Blashill could make it through a game without firing up the blender:

Overtime

Trevor Daley nearly ends it after a Larkin interception allowed him to throw a pass to the defenseman who was just coming on the ice on a change.

Matheson tries a wraparound, but Howard holds his post. The net comes off and we have a whistle.

Larkin and Athanasiou nearly combine for the winning goal, but come up just short after Tatar just missed Nielsen’s stick for a great chance.

Mantha has a great last minute of OT, but he can’t get one by Reimer. He also makes a great defensive play to come back and stop Trocheck.

Daley nearly wins the game again, when he breaks in on Reimer. It was a tough play, but he was angry he couldn’t score there.

Shootout

Trocheck nearly goes into the stands, that’s how wide he went. The play should have also been blown dead since he pulled the puck back. But he still missed.

Nielsen misses.

Howard saves a Barkov deke.

Athanasiou is stoned by Reimer.

Vrbata can’t score on Howard, who makes the save.

NYQUIST SCORES! He puts it through the five hole to get the extra point.

Detroit didn’t play that well tonight, but I’ll take the two points. Howard was easily the player of the game, while Nyquist gets my second star.

I’ll look for any reason to celebrate: