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RECAP: Red Wings lose sixth game in a row, 3-2 Panthers

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Florida Panthers v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images

The tough stretch just keeps getting tougher for the Red Wings following a 3-2 loss against the Florida Panthers Sunday evening. The roster is already dealing with COVID-19, sidelining Filip Zadina and Robby Fabrri, but the absence of Tyler Bertuzzi makes matters even worse. It wasn’t a win, but I think we saw a team come together and show some bright spots early and late in the game.

The Red Wings came out of the gate in an unusual fashion of these type of games. Typically the early-start Sunday games come shackled with the “slow start for Detroit” narrative. That wasn’t the case. The team, despite starting with the Luke Glendening line to start the game, looked fit and ready to play. Even though they didn’t score a power play goal, things seemed a bit more unified. Detroit opened the scoring thanks to Dylan Larkin, who got a break that ended in a backhand shot past Chris Driedger. Really nice effort from Givani Smith to make this play possible:

The lead was short-lived for the Red Wings — no surprise there. Patric Hornqvist picked up a goal in the opening minute of the 2nd period, which really put the team back on its heels. The middle stanza was a tale of two special teams. The Red Wings penalty kill unit stalled hard in the 2nd period. Hornqvist’s early power-play goal was the precursor to Aaron Ekblad’s power-play tally about 13 minutes later.

I have to hand it to the Red Wings this game — they responded in the 3rd period after the Panthers scored a deflating third goal to make it 3-1. Head coach Jeff Blashill pulled Thomas Greiss with over three minutes left in the 3rd period, which promptly turned into a huge goal from Anthony Mantha.

Unfortunately, two goals was not enough to push the game to overtime. The Red Wings have now quietly lost six games in a row. There’s an argument to be had in favor of Jeff Blashill, of course, the team is missing key pieces due to COVID-19. If you add Robby Fabbri, Filip Zadina, and Jon Merrill back to this lineup, you’re getting a different outcome. Factoring in Tyler Bertuzzi’s injury, I don’t think there’s any question there.

So they’ve been swept three times in a row, given the current format. They’ve squeezed out six Ls in a row, but this game showed improvement. If players like Michael Rasmussen continues to perform well, you have to think the team will bounce back when they can clear the COVID-19 list. Call me a desperate optimist, but I’m not convinced this team is as bad as it appears to be.

Maybe the light is at the end of the tunnel for the Wings, because we could see some of the COVID-list players start returning soon: