The Detroit Red Wings earned a 5-3 win on Saturday night in Sunrise, FL against the Florida Panthers. This is despite Florida's lucky charm, Kevin Spacey, being in attendance on "Spacey in Space" night.
The Panthers opened the scoring at the 10:49 mark of the first period, when big Nick Bjugstad (13) smacked a Jiri Hudler pass between Jimmy Howard's wickets for a 1-0 Florida lead. The marker extended Bjugstad's point streak to five games, maybe signifying an end to his seemingly season-long slump.
At 18:25 of the opening period, the Red Wings capitalized on the power play to tie the contest at one. The Wings got set up nicely in Florida's zone, then converted the five-on-four opportunity by going from Mike Green to Brad Richards to Thomas Tatar in tic-tac-toe fashion. Tatar wired the biscuit from about 18 feet in front of Roberto Luongo for the equalizer.
Aleksander Barkov won just one-of-seven faceoffs through the opening frame, while Vincent Trocheck won three-of-three. Detroit led in the category nine-to-seven, and each team registered eight hits on the other.
At the 7:08 mark of the second period, Vincent Trocheck scored his 22nd goal of the season. Pavel Datsyuk accidentally banked the puck off Reilly Smith's skate while entering the neutral zone, and the rebound bounced out to Jussi Jokinen. Jokinen hit Trocheck in stride, and Trocheck slid a backhand deke past Howard for a 2-1 Panthers' lead.
About six minutes later, Teddy Purcell gathered a Bjugstad reboound from behind the net, then banked it off Howard for a 3-1 lead. It was Purcell's 100th career goal in 549 games, his second as a Panther, and his 13th of the season.
The Red Wings hurt Florida late on the power play just before the end of the second period when Datsyuk (15) made sense of a mess in front of Luongo, redirecting the puck past the NHL's senior netminder to cut the lead in half.
Nick Bjugstad won four-of-five in the dot, and Greg McKegg won three-of-four. Florida outhit Detroit, six-to-one through the second period.
At 3:52 into the third period, Dylan Larkin (21) went high over Luongo's glove side to tie the game up at three, with assists to Jonathan Ericsson and Niklas Kronwall.
The Wings took the lead five minutes later when Luke Glendening scored his sixth of the season, assisted by Larkin and Kronwall. Glendening wristed it from the left faceoff dot in front of Luongo, and Luo got most-but-not-all of it. The puck trickled very slowly behind Luongo to make the score 4-3, Detroit.
Datsyuk (16) capped the scoring with 37 seconds to go into an empty net to finish the Panthers, 5-3.
Tiskets and Taskets
- Trocheck ended the game with 12-of-20 faceoff wins, and Bjugstad went nine-for-15 as the team won 36-of-66 overall.
- Florida collected 18 hits to 14 for the Wings, led by Smith and Bjugstad with three each.
- The loss dropped Luongo to 16-15-6 all-time against the Wings, and Howard's win got him to 3-2-2 against the Cats.
- The loss stopped Florida's winning streak at two, but still leaves them in the division lead by two points over the Tampa Bay Lightning, each with 10 games to play, 89-to-87. The Boston Bruins have 86 with one less game left in the season. For Detroit, the win increased their chance of making the playoffs by more than 20%. Florida's chances remained essentially unchanged, at 99.5%.
- War-on-ice is a good depot for your advanced statistical shopping needs.
- NHL.COM's gamecenter has a more conventional bag of tricks.
- hockey-reference.com is also pretty good at tracking statistics.