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Red Wings unbeaten streak in Florida ends at 1 as Detroit loses tight 2-1 game against the Panthers

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Patric Hornqvist’s puffy chest scores the game-winner

Detroit Red Wings v Florida Panthers Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

The Wings are back in action against the Florida Panthers, having recently earned the distinction of being the ONLY team in the NHL with a regulation win against Joel Quenneville’s powerhouse.

Lineup changes for this one have Anthony Mantha back in the lineup replacing Luke Glendening, who got plastered in the face by Radko Gudas on Sunday.

FIRST PERIOD

After no power plays in Sunday’s game, the Wings earn one immediately off the hop with Adam Erne drawing Mackenzie Weegar into a hooking penalty against Frans Nielsen. The Wings’ power play gets one real good chance as Larkin just misses a backdoor redirect from Mantha, but also gives up a shorthanded semi-break that Greiss has to stop and those two minutes pass scoreless.

Florida gets a shift of pressure following the PK, but Detroit puts Larkin’s line back out to create pressure and before they can even complete the change, Larkin finds Zadina at the dot who goes skate-to-stick and beats Bobrovsky with a short-side wrister to make it 1-0 Detroit.

I don’t want to pick on Nielsen, but the next notable scoring chance comes when he bats a puck up in the air and loses track, somehow giving the Panthers a 3-on-1 rush that Troy Stecher has to break up. Florida continues the momentum and starts to pressure more in Detroit’s end, but can’t get to the danger areas and Greiss makes the stops needed, including one where Anthony Duclair dekes to his side and is only able to slide the puck across the crease rather than into the net.

Detroit spent a lot of the period content to just clog things up and keep it simple. Just about no offensive pressure for the Wings in this sequence and it bites them with about four minutes to go as the sustained Florida pressure ties it on a goal for Alexander Wennberg off a feed to the front from Jonathan Huberdeau. 1-1 tie.

The Wings find their legs again after the goal and actually get a 4-on-2 rush, but there’s no dice on the Nielsen-Erne-Hronek feed as the defenseman holds the pass for too long before trying to pick the top corner and hits Bobrovsky’s glove.

The Score: 1-1
The Shots: 9-7 Panthers
Standout Players: Troy Stecher, Dylan Larkin, Filip Zadina
Sitdown Players: Frans Nielsen, Filip Hronek, Patrik Nemeth
The Period all summed up: I give this one 5 kidnapped grandmas out of 10. Not bad, but could be worse.

SECOND PERIOD

Detroit spends the early part of this period on their heels while Florida layers pressure on to create turnovers. The Wings’ only two chances in the first five are a Troy Stecher wraparound attempt and a Mantha solo rush that rings iron.

6:25 in, Robby Fabbri takes a seat for a poke-and-hope play at the offensive blue line that brings down a Panthers player and gives Florida their first PP of the game. This one is costly as the PKers keep Florida away for a while, but can’t hold off forever. Ekblad fires a one-timer from the top of the circle that hits Patric Hornqvist in the chest and bounces in over Greiss’ head to make it 2-1 Panthers.

Florida keeps the pressure up on the follow-up shift and Robby Fabbri semi-redeems himself with a backcheck that prevents a rebound goal.

Detroit gets their 10th shot on goal 11:30 into the 2nd period. It’s not that they’re not playing hockey in all this time, but there’s not a lot of events going. The Wings are getting outplayed, but are keeping their composure for the most part.

Things do start to open around the 14-minute mark, as Larkin’s line followed by Namestnikov’s line get a bit of sustained zone time. Brome can’t pot a rebound and the next best scoring chance is Mantha to Marc Staal so of course that doesn’t score.

The last minutes of the period open up with chances on both sides, the best of which is probably a three-shot flurry for Darren Helm & Vlad Namestnikov against a floundering Bobrovsky, but the horn goes and Detroit can’t pull even.

The Score: 2-1 Panthers
The Shots: 19-16 Panthers (10-9)
Standout Players: Dylan Larkin
Sitdown Players: Christian Djoos
The Period all summed up: No reason to panic just yet.

THIRD PERIOD

Dylan Larkin comes out at the beginning of the period with a good shift and Detroit earns another power play thanks to Yandle taking down our captain. This power play succeeds in having Anthony Mantha trying to kill defenders with one-timers, but nothing else.

At one point, Radko Gudas gets upset about being taken to the boards on a reverse hit only to realize he’s about to get all doody-diapy with Givani Smith and thinks better of starting shit. Just after this, Djoos misses an open net from a sharp angle and suddenly Detroit has a lead on the shot counter.

7:31 in, Detroit gets another PP chance with Ekblad going for slashing Larkin in the hands on a rush.

This power play is the worst of the three for Detroit. A whole bunch of puck moving but not enough feet moving.

Out of this, the game opens as Detroit starts trying to push the pace. Florida is staying structured and creates a few counter-punches. Room anywhere in the middle is tough to come by. Time ticks off until it’s time to pull Greiss for the extra skater at 18:34. Detroit immediately loses the zone and almost gives up the goal, but do get in for a faceoff with 50 seconds left to go. Blashill takes the timeout to draw up what’s probably a resume or something because it’s sure not a scoring play.

Final Score: 2-1 Panthers
The Shots: 32-22 Detroit
Standout Players: Dylan Larkin
Sitdown Players: Nah
The Period all summed up: It wasn’t maddeningly bad, but it was still kind of maddening


Conclusions

Detroit played a close game that was undone in the margins. That’s the mark of a team not ready to compete consistently but at least it’s not the mark of a floundering shit-heap of a team like we’ve seen previously. Not exactly the kind of loss you’re terribly sad at, but when you put together the whole pile of losses like these, it’s still pretty sad to look at.

I liked Darren Helm’s hustle in this one and very much realized how much we miss both Tyler Bertuzzi and Luke Glendeing. Adam Erne worked hard too.

I don’t know what Jeff Blashill thought of Anthony Mantha’s game. I felt myself in a spot between wanting more and not being exactly sure what he should have been doing to deliver more because running all over the ice creates ugly breakdowns more often than it creates fantastic chances. I do think he needs to push more to the middle of the ice when he’s playing the top of the right circle on the PP at least.