Desperate Effort Assures Panthers Another Point; Florida Falls to Detroit in SO

April 1, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Florida Panthers right wing Kris Versteeg (32) and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall (55) battle for the puck in the second period at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

The outcome of the game was no different from the contests against Minnesota, New York or Edmonton, but the play between the puckdrop and secured point was an entirely different side of the Florida Panthers in their shootout loss to the Detroit Red Wings. Now I know what you're thinking; Florida scores one goal, relies on their goalie and ultimately blows it in the extra innings. Well, most of that was true. The difference is the Panthers had no business taking an absolutely deadly team to a shootout. The way the Panthers blew into town after the Columbus loss, the final outcome could have easily been a blowout.

Take it as you will, but at least the Panthers grabbed 4 of 8 points out of the roadtrip. Disappointing? Sure, since the three games not against Detroit should have been gimmes, but by all accounts Florida should have lost in regulation in this most recent game. Florida now returns home to faceoff against a stumbling road team and then heads out to battle for the division. It wasn't an ideal way to end the roadtrip, but believe me when I say there are worse fates than falling to Detroit in a 2-1 game.

Find other recaps awaiting at Winging It In Motown and SBN Florida, the Hall of Heroes.

Scoring Summary:

1st:

-17:38 Tomas Fleischmann(26) assists to Kris Versteeg and Stephen Weiss

2nd:

-No scoring

3rd:

-5:30 Jiri Hudler(25) assists to Jakub Kindl and Valtteri Filppula

Shootout:

-Pavel Datsyuk GOAL

-Wojtek Wolski GOAL

-Jiri Hudler GOAL

-Mikael Samuelsson SAVE

-Todd Bertuzzi MISS

-Kris Versteeg MISS

Observations:

  • Scott Clemmensen would man the pipes for the Panthers, Clemmer has been spectacular in his last few starts allowing only 3 goals on 65 shots. Not that starter Jose Theodore has been bad, but it's understandable why after a stetch of horrible games Dineen would look to switch things up for his team. Along with the goalie change, Krys Barch would be out for Marco Sturm.
  • Given the way the last few games have gone, Florida's start wasn't spectacular but since they were playing an elite team, keeping things even felt like a good thing. Heck, not being destroyed in the first minutes is great, really.
  • Funny story about Kyle Quincey, Detroit drafted the defenseman in the fourth round, kept him around for parts of three seasons before losing him on waivers where he played a season with Los Angeles, then a few with Colorado. Then earlier this year Detroit swung a three way trade with the Avs and Tampa Bay to get him back for a first rounder and some low end prospects. And he kinda sucks now.
  • Mike Weaver would be playing in his 500th NHL game, and halfway through the first period he'd take the heel of Drew Miller's stick right in the teeth as Miller tried to hit the puck out of the air. Isn't that just how things work for Weaver; never a day he doesn't get whacked in the face. But he always gets up(he's indestructible, after all).
  • I think the real reason Keaton Ellerby wasn't playing was to prevent him from being Kronwall'd.
  • The Panthers would get on the board first, Kris Versteeg would streak into the zone, drop a pass to Stephen Weiss and drop it back to Versteeg, who'd send a one touch pass across the zone to Tomas Fleischmann who'd send a one timer past Jimmy Howard. The best part about the goal is Versteeg made something out of absolutely nothing as Nicklas Lidstrom had him covered. The entire sequence looked like something the top line would have created earlier in the season.
  • You know whats a stupid penalty? Too many men. Not only can you easily draw them by shooting the puck towards the opposition's bench during a line change, but a player behind the play stepping onto the bench(completely out of the play) counts as a sixth man. Along with the delay of game call for a puck over the glass and the ridiculous trapezoid rule, you can tell the NHL is trying to manufacture more goals by making stupid things penalties.
  • Whoever this Gustav Nyquist kid is is looking at a bright future.
  • Sean Bergenheim looked like a man on a mission in the second period, he hasn't scored in 6 games prior to the Detroit matchup but looks like he wants to end the drought before the end of the regular season. He knows his scoring is needed.
  • When I saw that this game was picked up by NHLN, I was sure it was an April Fools joke. That's what, the second time this year Florida has been featured on national television this year?
  • The Red Wings would tie up the game on a John Madden deflection five minutes into the third. Jiri Hudler(he hasn't retired yet?) would take a shot from the right hashmarks where it would be redirected off the stick of Madden and past Clemmensen.
  • Tomas Kopecky would take a high hit from Quincey immediately after the goal, a hit in which Quincey's feet clearly left the ice. Will it be a Shannaban? Who really knows. He'd get a five minute major and a game misconduct, but the Panthers' abbreviated powerplay wouldn't produce much.
  • Scott Clemmensen is played incredibly in the third period, I wouldn't think twice if Dineen played him again against the Jets. Seriously, he's been that good. It's nice when your goalie shows up for what Upshall called the most important game of the season.
  • After a third period flurry, Detroit would ease up a bit on the Panthers in overtime and looked eager to just skate to the shootout where they've been pretty good while the Panthers are just average.
  • With the shootout loss, Florida set a new NHL record fro overtime losses with 17. Yippee.

Chris' First Star: Clemmensen stole the Panthers a point, how could he not be the first star?

Chris' Worst Star: After a string of horrible breakdowns and giveaways, there weren't many goats in the game. Even Versteeg had a pivotal role to give the Panthers their only goal.

Up Next: Well well well, Winnipeg. Remember that one time you were leading the Southeast division? Well, the Panthers made good use of their games at hand, and now you're using the Florida roadtrip for golfing. Look at the bright side, at least the winter rates still apply back in Winnipeg. The Jets are playing for a draft pick, the Panthers are playing for a playoff berth and to redeem themselves for a 7-0 loss last time the two teams met. Jets at Panthers, Tuesday at 7. Love hurts.

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