For the first time since April 1, 2012, the Florida Panthers lost a game to the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena, as goaltender Petr Mrazek stopped 23 shots to backstop the Wings to a 3-0 win, moving them within six points of the first place Panthers in the Atlantic Division standings.
The bigger loss for the Cats, however, could be that of center Aleksander Barkov, who left for the remainder of the game after taking a shot to the head from Detroit's Justin Abdelkader in the second period. The officials felt the high hit didn't warrant a call, sending only Alex Petrovic to the sin bin for coming to the aid of his fallen teammate with a cross-check.
Goaltenders' Mrazek and Florida starter Al Montoya ruled the first forty minutes, keeping things scoreless. Montoya stopped 21 shots and got the benefit of the doubt on an inconclusive replay query of a potential Gustav Nyquist goal, while Mrazek had the lighter load, turning away all 15 Cats' shots he faced, including a nice shoulder save on Nick Bjugstad on a 2-on-1 break.
The Red Wings struck what turned out to be the decisive blow 4:19 into the final frame when Jakub Kindl's floater from the point deflected off the shaft of Tomas Tatar's stick and by a helpless Montoya. Dylan Larkin picked up the secondary assist on the play, giving the rookie four points in three games versus the Cats this season.
Detroit added to its lead at 11:26 when Pavel Datsyuk made some nifty moves to give himself some space and snapped a shot past Montoya with the Red Wings on a power play. Brad Richards and Henrik Zetterberg combined on the assists.
The Euro-Twins powers activated again 1:08 later, with Zetterberg's sweet backhand pass sending Datsyuk by Brian Campbell and in on Montoya. Datysuk deposited the between the keeper's leg's to put the game away. Abdelkader picked up the second helper, again inserting himself in the Panthers' collective craw.
Derek MacKenzie would engage in some fisticuffs with Abdelkader late in the game as the frustrated Cats were left with nothing to show for their visit to the Motor City, except for a second straight defeat and the potential loss of their best forward.
The Panthers will shuffle off to Buffalo for tonight's tilt with the seventh-place Sabres before returning t Sunrise for an important six-game homestand.
Gears and Spokes
- Jaromir Jagr played in his 1,600 NHL regular season game last night. He is just the tenth player in the history of the league to hit that mark. Jagr had some good chances, but had a hard time putting the puck on goal.
- Pavel Datsyuk's two-goal outburst was his first multi-goal game of the season. The slick veteran paced all skaters with seven shots on goal.
- Florida's league-worst road power play let them down yet again, going a woeful 0-for-5 on the night.
- Trailing 1-0 in the third, the Cats comeback effort was partially derailed by penalties to Aaron Ekblad and Reilly Smith, eating up valuable time. Smith's tripping minor led to Datsyuk's first marker which put Detroit up by two.
- How important is Aleksander Barkov to the Cars? Earlier in the season, they went a very mediocre 3-4-3 without him as he was recovering from a hand injury. Hopefully, he'll be back after the Buffalo game.
- war-on-ice has the advanced stats breakdown for you right here.
- NHL.com has put together a highlight package for you to see with your own eyes.
- If you gotta lose your mind in Detroit Rock City, get up and visit our friends at Winging It In Motown.
- Lastly, LBC condolences go out to Dale Tallon, whose mother Juliette passed away on Sunday. Our thoughts are with you DT.