Whatever: Panthers 3 - Red Wings 2 (SO - OF COURSE)

Every team has that one opponent that causes them problems, even when that opponent doesn't have the level of talent that they do. For the Red Wings, that team is the Florida Panthers.

I don't know what it is about the Panthers that causes the Wings so many fits, but for the 98th straight time the Wings were unable to get 2 points against a Florida team that plays the Wings perfectly. The Panthers don't have the most talent in the world, although they are better than people give them credit for, but the Wings should be beating them with regularity, and lost their 2nd straight game in the shootout.

Oy vey, the shootout. No wonder Ken Holland wants 3-on-3 OT and the NHL is reluctant to implement it.


The Red Wings looked determined to avoid the slow start that doomed them in their first meeting with the Panthers, and spent most of the first 3 minutes in the Florida zone. A strong rush by Pavel Datsyuk resulted in the Wings earning their first power play of the night, and Riley Sheahan continued his strong play as of late by putting home a rebound to give Detroit an early 1-0 lead. A few minutes later, the Wings were unable to clear the puck out of their own zone, and after multiple turnovers Tomas Fleischmann converted a pass to tie the game for Florida. From there, the Panthers took over, and another terrible shift by the Wing skaters resulted in a Panther goal, this time when Jonathan Huberdeau out-muscled Pavel Datsyuk in front of the Detroit net and slid a shot past a screened Jimmy Howard. The Wings were given a power play late in the period, and Gustav Nyquist did what he's been doing all year, which is score goals. A beautiful backhand got past Roberto Luongo, and the game was tied. Despite being outplayed at even strength, the Wings' special teams were perfect in the first period, allowing them to escape without being behind against a hard-working Florida team.


The teams came out and locked it down a little bit through the first 5 minutes of the second period. The best chance early saw Pavel Datsyuk pick up a loose puck and get a short odd-man rush, but unfortunately the other guy with him was Joakim Andersson, who couldn't reach the pass. The teams traded power plays, with neither team able to convert. The Wings had a couple of good opportunities, but couldn't keep their perfect PP night going. Riley Sheahan had a great chance late in the period, but for the most part both teams were one-and-done offensively, and the period ended the same as the first, in a 2-2 tie.


The third period started the same as the second ended; both teams traded decent chances, but nothing of any consequence happened. Midway through the period, Jakub Kindl was called for a phantom interference penalty, but took exception to something Vincent Trocheck said and earned himself an extra penalty for cross-checking. The Wings were able to kill both penalties, and were promptly rewarded with a power play of their own after Tomas Tatar drew a call against Derek Mackenzie. The Wings had a few opportunities but couldn't score. Despite a few offensive zone faceoffs late, the Wings couldn't get the go-ahead goal, and we headed to OT.


I lost the Wings' feed on my Center Ice, so I had to scramble to find the game again, but when I turned it on, Tomas Tatar was skating around the Panthers' zone like an insect of some kind but didn't get a shot on net. The Wings' dominated possession but couldn't get any really good chances, and it went to the dreaded shootout.

In the shootout, you all know what happened. The Red Wings absolutely suck at shootouts. Howard can't stop a beachball, and I see fans shooting at that little cardboard cutout from center ice score more than the Wing skaters.


  • I understand that, on paper, Johan Franzen should be in the lineup because of his offensive potential. But at this point I think I'm ready to see what anyone else can do in his spot, at least for a game or two. Hell, if Franzen is going to be playing third line minutes, I think I'd like to see what Dan Cleary can do in that role for a couple of games.
  • Likewise, Jonathan Ericsson just isn't right. I don't know if the hand injury from last year is still affecting him or if it's something else, but his decision-making is too slow, and it's resulting in his being not quick enough to react to plays that are happening in front of him.
  • In the Wings' next practice, I think it would be a good idea for them to work on trying to move pucks away from their net while having 2 hands on their stick. Too many times the Wings weakly poked at a puck one-handed and it allowed Florida to maintain their forecheck and get a scoring opportunity.
  • How is it possible to not feel bad for Stephen Weiss at this point? After taking a hit from Dave Bolland and falling awkwardly into the boards, he didn't return with an upper-body injury. Groins aren't above the waist, right?
  • Tomas Tatar and Mike Babcock said that the shootout problems of the Wings were all "mental". Mental, physical, whatever, they are terrible and need to figure it out. That's yet another point left on the table against an inferior opponent that should be beaten easily.