Tonight at 7:00 PM, the Panthers will face off against their new division foe, the Detroit Red Wings in Joe Louis Arena. This is the first of five contests this season between the teams. They'll play another game in Detroit on January 26th, and three times in Sunrise, Tuesday night, December 28th, and February 6th.
Florida just closed out a five-game homestand. They started out well with a 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on November 25th. Following that, they lost three straight, 5-2 to the Rangers on November 27th, 5-1 to the Penguins last Saturday, and 4-2 to the Senators on Tuesday. They defeated the Winnipeg Jets, 5-2 in their last game on Thursday. After tonight's game, they'll travel to Chicago to play the Blackhawks tomorrow night before returning home.
After a slow start, the Red Wings have won five of their last six matches. They're coming off a 3-1 victory over the Devils in New Jersey last night, and are not playing again until facing the Panthers again on Tuesday.
In the last meeting between Florida and Detroit, the 46-27-5 Wings were hosting the 37-25-16 Panthers on April 1st, 2012. The two played 65 minutes of hockey, ending with the score knotted at one. Tomas Fleischmann (26) scored for the Panthers, with assists from Kris Versteeg and Stephen Weiss, and Jiri Hudler (25) lit the lamp for Detroit. Scott Clemmensen made 31 saves for Florida, and Jimmy Howard made 27 for the Wings. Pavel Datsyuk and Hudler each beat Clemmers in the shootout, with Florida's only success earned by Wojtek Wolski. * Full Recap * Box Score
Panthers @ Red Wings 04/01/12 (via NHL)
Winging It In Motown has news on the Wings.
In Florida's last game, the Panthers defeated the Winnipeg Jets in Sunrise, 5-2. Erik Gudbranson (2), Tomas Fleischmann (4), and Dylan Olsen (1) had a goal and an assist each, Scottie Upshall had two helpers, and Nick Bjugstad (4) and Jimmy Hayes (2) also potted markers for the Panthers. Andrew Ladd (8) and ex-Panther Olli Jokinen (7) scored for the Jets. Tim Thomas earned the victory in his 13th straight start, stopping 29-of-31 shots. Ondrej Pavelec made 21 stops in the loss. * Full Recap * Box Score
Jets @ Panthers Highlights 12/05/13 (via NHL)
Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson spoke later:
I thought our whole team really stepped up defensively today. We really stepped up and took care of our own end first and really forced them into nothing. That was really huge for us today.
Detroit defeated the New Jersey Devils last night in East Rutherford, NJ, 3-1. Joakim Andersson (4), Johan Franzen (9), and Tomas Tatar (PP, 6) scored for the Wings, and Andy Greene (PP, 4) scored for the Devils. Wings goaltender Jonas Gustavsson saved 10-of-11 Devils shots for the win, while Cory Schneider made 18 saves for New Jersey.* Full Recap * Box Score
Red Wings @ Devils Highlights 12/06/13 (via NHL)
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock talked about Andersson's goal later:
That was a huge goal, no question. It was a great play by [Daniel] Alfredsson at the blue line. We had given up seven or eight shots at that point, so it wasn't like they had momentum but we didn't have it either. It was a game that was offensively challenged by both teams.
In Lou We Trust has more on the Devils.
GameTime: 7:00 PM
GameLine: Detroit -143.0
Broadcast: FS-F, FS-D+
Season Series: First of five contests.
All-Time Series: Florida is 4-11-5-3 all-time versus the Wings, a .348 points percentage.
Florida Panthers: 8-16-5, 21 points, .362, on pace for 59 points. Seventh in the Atlantic Divsion, 15th in the Eastern Conference, 29th in the NHL. Last five: W-L-L-L-W.
Detroit Red Wings: 15-8-7, 37 points, .617, on pace for 101 points, Third in the Atlantic Division, fourth in the Eastern Conference, 12th in the NHL. Last five: W-W-W-L-W.
This Day in Panthers History
Florida is 5-2-2 on December 7th.
1993 - Panthers 3, Ducks 2
1995 - Panthers 3, Ducks 3
1997 - Panthers 5, Capitals 4
2002 - Oilers 4, Panthers 0
2005 - Stars 4, Panthers 3
2006 - Panthers 3, Sabres 1
2007 - Panthers 3, Islanders 0
2009 - Oilers 3, Panthers 2, SO
2010 - Panthers 4, Avalanche 3
Probable Starting Lineups
Tim Thomas - Scott Clemmensen
Detroit Red Wings
Jimmy Howard - Jonas Gustavsson
For more on the Wings, check out Winging It In Motown, and come back to LBC for the GameThread at 6:30 tonight.