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Rats: Detroit drops a stinker in Florida

The Red Wings head to Sunrise after an exciting victory over the Jeff-Blashill-Not-Really-Led Tampa Bay Lightning and face the reigning Presidents Trophy winning Panthers who are looking up at us in the standings currently.

Wings play with a third pair of Hägg -Lindström with Jordan Oesterle moving up to play alongside Filip Hronek. Team shares that Olli Määttä is sick and Jake Walman is a coach’s decision.

Ned gets the start too.

First Period

Florida puts the first two shots on goal, but the Wings get their fourth line on the ice to create some zone time, which ends in Zac Dalpe taking a penalty for hooking Joe Veleno.  The 2nd unit gets better looks than the first, but overall the PP is not dangerous early.

Nearly seven minutes into the period, Ben Chiarot puts Matthew Tkachuk on his ass and it’s my favorite play of the game.

Soon after, Robert Hägg takes a holding penalty in the corner of the offensive zone.  Florida’s PP creates a fair amount of havoc in the Wing’s zone which alternates between creating dangerous looks for the Panthers and stupid self-clears. Ned makes every save he needs to and Hägg is free.

11:30 in, as Nick Cousins and Adam Erne get mad at each other, the Wings get a different penalty. Gustav Lindström trips one of those Staal dorks (Erik, probably) and Andrew Copp sits in the box as a falsely accused.  The second Florida power play is very much like the first only scarier. Some big scrambling by Nedeljkovic keeps us tied.

As the Wings try to regain some momentum late in the period, the physical play increases. Mo Seider tries to truck a guy, the Panthers just miss a couple shots and Lucas Raymond is stoned at the doorstep.

18:05 into the period, the Wings turn the puck over in the neutral zone, springing Chris Tierney behind a changing Detroit squad. Backhand five-hole breaks the tie and it’s 1-0 Florida.

Detroit struggles to finish out the period without giving another, but somehow manage.

The Score: 1-0 Panthers
The Shots: 15-5 Panthers
Observations: Glad Ned was sharp because the defensive lineup changes were rough going in the first period.  It’s unfair that the goal came on a Berggren turnover because his line was the only one that consistently generated any looks in the offensive zone.

Second Period

To start things off, Brian Boucher of ESPN goes on a weird rant about how the lack of a right-shooting center is going to cost the Red Wings in a game seven which is very weird. Then Florida makes it 2-0 early in the period as Aleksander Barkov gets to the middle of the ice for a wrister that’s tipped past Nedeljkovic by Eetu Luostarinen.

Less than a minute later it’s 3-0 Florida on a rebound goal for Josh Mahura off yet another neutral zone turnover.

We’re less than four minutes into this second period and Detroit has five shots on net.

6:09 in Gustav Forsling trips Austin Czarnik in the Florida zone and the Wings get a power play chance.  The Panthers’ PK is aggressive and limits most of the chances, but the 2nd unit late in the advantage breaks through as Jonatan Berggren punches a rebound in on the doorstep. 3-1 game.

Perron pings one off the post on his next shift with Larkin and Raymond making trouble for Aaron Ekblad and the Wings start looking more competent.  This lasts for a few minutes but then Florida pushes back. A terrible Kubalik pass nearly ends up behind Ned and then more ugly grabass by the Wings follows while I slowly lose patience.

Panthers make it 4-1 with just over five minutes. Gustav Lindstrom lets himself get driven into Nedeljkovic by Matt Kiersted, who is there on the doorstep to jam the puck home as it comes out of Ned’s glove.

Matthew Tkachuk makes room for a wrister coming up the right wing side on another odd-man rush. 5-1 Panthers.

If you want highlights of those two clusterfucks, then NHL.com has you covered.

Jordan Oesterle draws a PP with 1:33 left to go. Montour off for tripping.  Brian Boucher is convinced that point shots are the key to the Wings’ finding PP success.  Barkov gets a shorthanded break from the slot and Ned actually makes a stop.  Detroit manages the end the period without further stepping on their own dicks.

The Score: 5-1 Florida
The Shots: 34-15 Florida (21-10)
Observations: It doesn’t really matter whose fault it is that Nedeljkovic and the defense play like they don’t trust one another. If that’s not solved then it’s much easier to replace the one guy than the other 18.

Third Period

Ben Chiarot ends the carryover power play with a shot that rings the post behind Bobrovsky but stays out of the net.  Then Carter Verhaege puts a shot through Nedeljkovic that misses the far post.

Raymond gets slashed by Sam Reinhart at 6:10. Another Wings’ PP. It takes 90 seconds for this to even look like a power play and then relies on the scoring prowess of Ben Chiarot to deliver (he doesn’t).

I don’t have anything really to about the middle portion of this period passing other than “thank goodness it did.” – Florida is very happy with the pace of play.

Three minutes left and a promising Berggren rush is disrupted by Filip Hronek and Nick Cousins disagreeing over whether it’s ok for Florida Panthers players to cross-check Detroit Red Wings players behind the play.  Somehow the Wings get the extra penalty out of the shitbaggery.

Detroit kills it.  Ned’s third period shutout is safe.

The Score: 5-1 Florida
The Shots: 41-20 (7-5)
Observations: Seider’s physicality late was the most entertaining thing.


The one positive adjustment the Wings started doing later in the game against the pressure that the Panthers were putting on guys trying to outlet were more of the hook & ladder type passing plays where a guy under pressure would bump a short pass backwards to a free-skating teammate.  That’s a positive.

We have almost gotten to the point of taking for granted how many forwards we’ve lost out of the depth chart, but it was especially noticeable what our usual defensive depth had been doing for us. Hägg-Lindström is a nightmare pair of foot speed and decision-making trouble. Oesterle is fine down on the third pair but overmatched on the 2nd.

Dominik Kubalik looked like he forgot how to play hockey in this game. Uncharacteristic showing for him.

Next up: we’re in Dallas for a Saturday matinee.

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