The Florida Panthers losing streak reached three as the Detroit Red Wings held off the Cats to post a 4-3 win Saturday night at the BB&T Center. Florida surrendered first period power-play goals, to Daniel Alfredsson and Henrik Zetterberg, to dig themselves an early hole, but were able to rally to tie things up in the middle stanza. Sean Bergenheim scored on a backhand in front at 12:52 of the second with the Panthers on a power play. Brian Campbell fed Bergy beautifully for the goal, while Aleksander Barkov picked up the secondary assist. Nick Bjugstad got the equalizer just over two minutes later, beating Jonas Gustavsson unassisted on a breakaway for his eighth of the season. Detroit would doom the Cats with a quick start in the third period as Brendan Smith blasted the puck past Scott Clemmensen, who finished with 27 saves, for his first of the season just 42 seconds into the frame. Gustav Nyquist knocked in a rebound 38 seconds later for the eventual game-winner. Bergenheim would notch his second of the game by firing home a rebound of Dylan Olsen's sharp-angled shot at 4:27 to pull the Panthers within one. Marcel Goc also picked up a helper on the goal. Gustavsson would hold the Panthers at bay the rest of the way, finishing with 10 saves in the third, including a huge stop on Tomas Kopecky in the waning seconds. This was an exciting game, in front of a nice crowd, and the Panthers did fight hard, but ultimately they came up a little bit short again on home ice, a trend which must be reversed post-haste. Florida gets right back it today at with a late afternoon tilt against the Montreal Canadiens at 5 PM. This is shaping up as a must win for the Cats.
Odds & Ends
- Henrik Zetterberg's return after an 11-game absence couldn't have come at worst time for the Panthers. Zetterberg finished with just the one goal, but he was on the ice for Detroit's first three scores, and his drive into the offensive zone past Dmitry Kulikov directly led to Smith's tally early in the third that powered the Red Wings to the win.
- The Panthers lousy penalty kill cost them big time. Despite the second period comeback, Detroit's two power-play goals in the first went a long way in deciding this one. Florida has surrendered five power-play goals during its current three-game losing streak.
- The Cats scored for a second straight game on the power play, with Bergy again doing the honors, but the unit failed on its two chances to tie the game in the third period. Bergenheim now has five goals in his last eight games and looks fully recovered after missing all of last season.
- The road win was a big one for the Red Wings. Detroit is away from home for six of its next seven, with the only home game coming against Toronto at this year's Winter Classic in Ann Arbor.
- Yes, it came courtesy of a ghastly Tomas Jurco turnover, but Bjugstad's breakaway goal was a thing of beauty. Bjugs showed some nice speed and sweet hands in freezing "The Monster" and then coolly sliding it by him to tie the game at two.
- Last night's loss, coupled with the 6-1 defeat to the Lightning, has set the stage for yet another disappointing five-game homestand. Florida must find a way to pick up some wins before they go back out on the road or the ten-point gap to the Maple Leafs is going to widen.
- Scott Clemmensen did an admirable job filling in, but it will sure be nice to see Tim Thomas between the pipes today against the Habs. Thomas needs to spark the Cats into busting up this losing streak.
- Check out Winging It In Motown for more on last night's game.