Once again, the Florida Panthers inability to play a complete sixty minutes cost them dearly as they dropped another game at home, this time by a 5-4 count to the Detroit Red Wings. The Cats scored an astonishing (for them) two power-play goals in a 68-second span during the first period to grab a 2-1 lead, but were doomed by a four-goal Detroit barrage in the second frame. The loss was Florida's fifth in a row (0-4-1) and fourth straight at home.
The visiting Red Wings opened the scoring at the 8:06 mark on a shorthanded goal by Drew Miller. Jonathan Ericsson's clear off the boards pinballed past a diving Aaron Ekblad and Miller was able to corral the puck and slide it under Roberto Luongo.
Forty seconds after the goal, Kyle Quincey joined Dan DeKeyser in the sin bin and Aleksander Barkov made the Wings pay for their trnasgrssions. Barkov converted from in close to cap off the pretty passing of Nick Bjugstad and Ekblad.
With Quincey still in the box, Brandon Pirri ripped a shot from the circle off Detroit starter Petr Mrazek to give the Cats the lead. Brian Campbell and Jussi Jokinen combined to set up Pirri's fifth of the season.
The Red Wings gouged the Panthers for four goals in the first 11:32 of the second period to take a 5-2 lead
A wide-open Henrik Zetterberg scored 32 seconds into the frame, taking a pass from Justin Abdelkader from behind the net and banging it past Luongo.
Luke Glendening and former Panther Stephen Weiss lit the lamp 1:19 apart to put Detroit up by two. Glendening's goal came after a ghastly turnover by Dylan Olsen. Weiss finished off a nifty pass from a streaking Riley Sheahan.
Glendening scored again, with Weiss picking up the assist, to end Luongo's night after 31:12 of action. Luongo finished with 12 saves on 17 shots.
With Al Montoya tending the nets, Bjugstad bagged the Cats' third power-play marker of the night, from fellow young guns Ekblad and Barkov, at 15:30 to stop the bleeding. The goal was Bjugstad's sixteenth, equaling his total from last season, and the helper gave Barkov his first multi-point game of the campaign.
Brad Boyes notched the only goal of the third period at the 10:54 mark, courtesy of a sweet feed from Barkov, but Mrazek would shut the door the rest of the way. The young Detroit keeper stoned Boyes with time running out to keep the game from going to overtime, sending the Cats to yet another defeat on what has become a nightmare of a homestand.
Odds & Sods
- Aaron Ekblad's two assists pushed him past Rick Hampton and Scott Stevens into sixth place for most points ever by an 18-year-old defenseman with 27. Eggs is four away from tying the trio of Jim Benning, Doug Bodger and Petr Svoboda.
- Al Montoya stopped all 10 shots he faced in relief of Luongo to the give Panthers a solid chance at a comeback.
- In addition to his excellent play on the Weiss goal, Riley Sheahan also drew a helper on Luke Glendening's first of the evening.
- Aleksander Barkov's three points were a season-high. Barkov now has 9 points in his last 9 games.
- Ex-Cat Stephen Weiss put it to his old team, matching Barkov with a goal and and two assists.
- Petr Mrazek finished the game with 37 saves to post his 10th win of the season.
- Sean Bergenheim returned to the lineup after being scratched against Vancouver and ended the game minus-three.
- After bagging Florida's only goal against the Canucks, Brandon Pirri's first period tally gave him a two-game scoring streak.
- Winging It In Motown has more on the team that started life as the Detroit Cougars first win this season over the Panthers. The clubs will conclude the season series on March 19th, again in Sunrise.