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Cats scratch Wings on special teams, 3-2 FINAL

Darn you, Bob.

Florida Panthers v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Wings got walloped by the Devils at home Wednesday night. Looking for a bounce back, they hosted division rival Florida Panthers on the first night of a back-to-back swing.

There are a lot of ways you could describe that game. I think John Keating put it perfectly when he said “better tonight, but not better enough.” I liked a fair bit of what I saw from the Wings in this game, but they ran into their nightmare lord Sergei Bobrovsky who bailed the Panthers out several times. The game came down to special teams and that was Detroit’s kryptonite in this tilt.

1st Period

Offense started quickly with both Florida and Detroit trading goals within the first three minutes. The Red Wings would open the scoring on a brilliant re-direct goal from Jonatan Berggren, which would be his sixth goal of the season:

Berggren’s goal came near the minute mark. Gustav Forsling would answer with a game-tying tally about 90 seconds later. From that point on, both teams played some heavy hockey. I personally thought Detroit had done a good job with creating chances and keeping the puck away from Florida. What was really the best part of the first 20 minutes was Robby Fabbri laying the lumber:

  • The Berggren-Copp-Raymond line is impressive
  • Gustav Lindstrom. Woof.
  • Some big saves for Ville Husso

2nd Period

The Red Wings continued to apply the pressure. We even saw Jake Walman with a breakaway chance early on. The Wings don’t get many chances on a breakaway, but for some reason they had two of them this period and they were both Walman and Adam Erne. Go figure.

Detroit got plenty of chances — two of them on the power play. I wasn’t impressed and when the penalty kill was tasked, Florida took a bite:

Ekky is a dumb nickname.

The only other notables from the second period were Berggren getting a boost in ice time later on and then an unthinkable moment when one of the officials took a puck to the nards:

For the record: If something like this happens to me at my job - I’m going home for the day.

  • It’s the Jonatan Berggren show
  • Jake Walman is playing good hockey
  • Need to see more creativity on PP

3rd Period

It ultimately wouldn’t go the Red Wings way, but you can’t deny that they pushed the Panthers late in the game. Unfortunately Sergei Bobrovsky got the start for Florida and that’s basically the kiss of death. After Friday’s game, Bob’s career record against the Wings is 23-6-1.

I think the Red Wings did a lot of things right in this game. But it was special teams that ended up burying them. Florida got two chances on the power play (both of them in the third period) and they cashed in each time, adding to a really foul stretch of PK play for Detroit since November:

On the flip side, the power play has no power at all. Detroit got FIVE chances (should have been more) and couldn’t tally once. When you play meatgrinder teams like Florida, you have to seize those opportunities.

If we’re looking for a silver lining, here you go: Robby Fabbri had a really strong game. Fast, physical and he picked up his first goal since March late in the third:

FINAL: 3-2, Panthers

  • PK is hot garbage. Gotta fix that ASAP
  • It’s time to give Jonatan Berggren an elevated role
  • It will be huge if Alex Nedeljkovic can find his feet again. Husso needs a solid backup
  • Aaron Ekblad is a real piece of work

It won’t get any easier. The Red Wings are back to work Saturday night in Toronto against the Leafs. 7pm puck drop.