Game Recap: Too Little — Panthers 4 at Red Wings 3

Detroit's four-game winning streak ends with a thud from a dud.

The Detroit Red Wings entertained the Florida Panthers tonight at the Joe, and boy did the home team ever entertain them. After teasing the fans with a 1-0 lead, Florida scored four straight to put the hurt on the Red Wings. Despite trying in the third, they couldn't tie the game, teasing the fans some more when they cut the lead to 4-3 but still lost.

The Game

Florida got the jump on Detroit, getting a heap of possession out of the gate and also getting a power play out of it. Detroit killed it, and Johan Franzen drew a double-minor penalty. The Red Wings converted on the back half of the four-minute power play, as Tomas Tatar beautifully redirected Pavel Datsyuk's shot past Roberto Luongo.

The Panthers would bookend their good play this period, though. They started strong, and they would finish strong, as Vincent Trochek corralled a blocked shot at the point and fired it again at Jimmy Howard. Jimmy Hayes was there to clean up the garbage and tie the game before intermission.

The second period looked like a snoozer until a turnover in the Red Wings zone led to a wide open net for Sean Bergenheim to dump the biscuit in. Florida went side-to-side to draw Howard in one direction, then fed a wide open Bergenheim through Kyle Quincey's and Riley Sheahan's sticks. The Panthers took that 2-1 lead into the second intermission.

If they Red Wings had any plans of coming back, they certainly had a funny way of executing them. Brendan Smith raced for the puck in his own zone and curled in front. He made a great pass to Trochek, who deked Howard for a 3-1 lead. Aaron Ekblad seemed to seal the win with a 4-1 blast from the point beautifully (read: painfully) redirected by Gustav Nyquist into his own net.

The Red Wings finally got those comeback plans engaged, and before halfway through the third, a scramble in the Florida zone found Pavel Datsyuk all alone with an open net, and he cut the lead to 4-2. Despite having a few more chances, the Red Wings couldn't find their third goal until there were only 59 seconds remaining, with Nyquist firing into the right net this time off a rebound. Those comeback plans probably needed more time though, and that was time Detroit didn't have.

The Bullets

  • The Panthers got off to a great start, but the line of Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Franzen had a great shift after the Red Wings' first penalty kill to get the team back on track. Unfortunately, that line wouldn't stick. Justin Abdelkader's absence literally was felt throughout the lineup.

  • Pavel Datsyuk has five goals in the last four games. Pasha is hot hot hot.

  • I can't say I fault Jimmy Howard on any of the four goals. Maybe he should have put the rebound on the first goal in a better spot, but there were at least six bodies between him and Trochek's initial shot. Overall, he made the saves he needed to.

  • I tend not to lend much credence to the "giveaways" stat because tracking for it is unreliable and it can also skew toward inflated totals for players who has the puck more instead of showing players who actually give it away the most. But 12 giveaways, especially at least two that led directly to goals, isn't exactly a recipe for success.

  • Detroit scored one power play goal, but they also had a few chances to in the third to make it a 3-2 game with a power play goal. They didn't capitalize on those chances, and Ekblad then made it a 4-1 game. Not always how many, but when your special teams come through can help a team win games.

  • I don't have the heart to talk about how Jakub Kindl played in this game.

  • Joakim Andersson took his turn in the lineup because of Abdelkader's injury, and I can't believe I honestly wanted Daniel Cleary in the lineup. The fourth line got back to a grinding-without-scoring dead end.

The Red Wings gave us hope they could come back, but they still came up short. For most of the game, though, it was a struggle. For whatever reason, we can never beat Florida comfortably, if we do at all. We didn't last year when they were bad, and we almost certainly won't this year when they're better and have Roberto Luongo in net.

Oh well. Scrape this one from the memory banks and get ready for the Dallas Stars on Thursday.