Detroit put their two-game winning streak and perfect February record up against a Florida Panthers team looking up at the Wings in the standings for a Saturday night tilt in Sunrise to cap off a two-day southern trip started off with Friday night’s win in Raleigh against the Hurricanes.
The Panthers are also bringing a two-game streak home to meet the Wings after dispatching Buffalo in their barn on Thursday night. Let’s see how things play out.
On the very first shift, Tomas Tatar steals a puck at center and tries the Nyquist move to slide it back through Sateri and it looks like the goalie carried it into the net with him, but a short review leads to nothing but a puck drop in the Florida zone. A couple minutes later on the second shift for the Nielsen line, Aaron Ekblad puts a backhander off the post and then off the camera in the back of the net to put the Panthers up 1-0 less than four minutes in.
On the next shift, Matheson rings iron catching the Wings on a change and I’m starting to regret volunteering for a recap on a Saturday night where I could have been doing more fun things like yelling at socks.
7:28 into a choppy period, the Wings take the fist penalty as Daley holds up Dadonov behind Mrazek’s net. Florida creates a number of decent looks, but shots wide by Dadonov save things for the end of the power play to happen early thanks to Nick Bjugstad high-sticking Nick Jensen with 18 seconds to go. The recently-feckless Wings power play was able to get a good look on a Frk pass to Nyquist, but nothing approaching a finish.
This was immediately followed by another bad change and Mrazek having to make a save on Barkov streaking up the left wing side.
The Wings did get a good look about 13 minutes in as Mantha broke through center 2-on-1 and left the puck for Jensen to take a shot that bounced out of Sateri’s glove, reminding me that Sateri is a guy who plays NHL hockey and is in this very game.
With 1:40 to play, Sateri freezes a puck with Abdelkader in front and a scrum ensues in which Trocheck skates 20 feet to throw a punch at Abby already mucking it up with a Florida player. Both players get roughing and we go 4-on-4 for a spell, which makes the Wings look better for a bit at least.
The Period Summed Up: Detroit left their good in Raleigh.
Score: 1-0 Panthers
Shots: 10-9 Panthers
Standout Players: Mantha, Abdelkader
Sitdown Players: Daley, Larkin
The second period starts with Daley losing the puck off his stick and giving Florida a good look on net that Mrazek has to swallow up. Things settled there for a bit as Detroit looked to start finding their legs (although not their legs’ ways to good lanes to the net) and the fourth line draws a slashing call just prior to the first timeout to put Detroit back on the power play. I don’t want to sound like I’m mailing it in, but I feel I can adequately describe things by saying it’s what you expect from the Wings’ PP of late.
Back at even strength, the Wings tie it 1-1 a shift and a half later as DeKeyser probably gets away with interference in his own zone and uses the best of his 2nd chance as Nielsen finds him streaking late in the zone to walk between the circles and snipe it in.
Just after, Athanasiou breaks through for another chance that Sateri has to stop. Florida answers by adding pressure of their own, including Keith Yandle ringing the post on a break after Ericsson steps up trying to short-circuit a breakout that he can’t.
Florida goes back up 2-1 at 13:38 as Barkov takes a nice pass and burns into the zone past Zetterberg, sniping it past Mrazek. Dadonov with a good pass at center to create the speed that makes the space for both zone entry and shot.
Florida continues to press for a while before the Wings find their footing again and get out of their own zone, but the period ends with nothing else worth reporting.
The Period Summed Up: The first ten minutes were better than the last.
Score: 2-1 Panthers
Shots: 10-9 Detroit (19-19 overall)
Standout Players: DeKeyser, Nielsen
Sitdown Players: Ericsson
Unlike with the first two periods, the third goes a full minute without an A+ scoring chance for either team, although Bertuzzi got a good chance that he sent wide about 1:20 in. Then, at 3:00 in, DeKeyser ties it 2-2 off a rebound from a Frans Nielsen point shot through traffic that bounces in off a crease-crashing DDK. A brief discussion of whether or not he kicked it in follows, but the goal is called good.
GOOD GOAL, DEKEYSER 2-2!!! pic.twitter.com/pGUXxSEyAx— Winged Octopus (@WingedOctopus) February 4, 2018
Detroit answers by immediately giving up a shift of possession to the Panthers.
6:45 in, Detroit goes shorthanded with Ericsson taking a hooking call on Dadonov. It’s not a great call, but Dadonov got good body position on Ericsson to assist the optics and the Panthers were basically due for another power play. This one only lasts 23 seconds as Barkov is forced to take Glendening down to prevent a breakaway caused by a broken-up zone entry.
We don’t get all the way through the 4-on-4 before Kronwall gets called for a slash to give 25 seconds of 4-on-3 PP. The Panthers take 10 seconds to put a chance off the post, but Ericsson comes out to even it for a short while before Barkov rejoins and makes it a 5-on-4 PP. This one ends with no score change, although Jensen at one point did have to clear a loose puck out of the crease for a sprawling Mrazek.
Following all this, the Zetterberg line comes out and creates a couple great chances that can’t find their way into the net, but does serve the purpose of waking up a loud LGRW chant in the BB&T Center.
The Wings continue to buzz and after Sateri freezes a puck, Mamin takes exception to Tyler Bertuzzi running him into the net, so the two drop their gloves and aggressively negotiate their differences through personalized sign language. Bertuzzi does well enough, but I’d probably score this on for Mamin.
Things open up a bit following the scuffle with Florida getting the better chances during the heightened pace, especially Barkov who just misses the net after finding too much space coming into the zone. As things wound down, we got some real excitement with the Panthers getting all five Wings skaters into their own crease trying to stop a puck from getting in past a down-and-out Mrazek and somehow it not only stays out, but Detroit avoids taking a penalty.
In the end, that doesn’t matter, as Huberdeau scores with 7.7 left on the clock. The contact with Mrazek happens in the crease, but is somewhat aided by Mike Green and nobody knows what interference is. My personal belief is Huberdeau comes into the crease on his own so it shouldn’t count, but the refs don’t see it that way.
The Period Summed Up: Goalie interference is a joke.
Score: 3-2 Panthers
Shots: 14-9 Panthers (33-28 Florida Overall)
Standout Players: DeKeyser, Mantha, Nyquist
Sitdown Players: Tatar, Athanasiou
In the end, Detroit got outplayed and Team Tank has almost a perfect loss to avoid grabbing points, but expect the team to focus strongly on that goalie interference call because that’s their job.
I can’t fully explain why but I like the Panthers’ logo like 200% more since they decided to make it face to the left. Such a weird thing.
Not sure why Blashill limited Bertuzzi and AA in this one, but it felt that the ice time limiting was part of what also limited their effectiveness. Overall usage had Frk, Abby, and AA with the lowest TOI while AA and Glendening were just about even. Definitely not the 2nd line usage out of the kids like we were getting used to. Although in fairness, the kids were getting caved possession-wise by Barkov’s line.
Also just so I don’t have to retype this:
I want Mrazek flopping at the first hint of interference 10-out-of-10 times. I don't think he stops that chance regardless and getting a call is still the better chance— Winging It In Motown (@wingingitmotown) February 4, 2018
Up next, the Wings meet Boston at the LCA on Tuesday night.