Jonathan Huberdeau scored with 8.9 seconds remaining in the regulation to give the Florida Panthers a 3-2 victory against the Detroit Red Wings, extending the club’s winning streak to three games in front of a robust crowd of 17,987.
After Harri Sateri denied Tomas Tatar on an early breakaway chance, the Panthers got on the board at the 3:51 mark when Aaron Ekblad finished off a fine cross-ice feed from Huberdeau with a nifty backhand that caught the post before slipping in just under the cross bar. Keith Yandle, who had a season-high three points Thursday in Buffalo, picked up the secondary assist on his defense partner’s tenth of the campaign.
Detroit defenseman Danny DeKeyser tied the game 8:51 into the second period when he joined the rush to create a 3-on-2 and fired a bullet to beat Sateri on the blocker side after taking a pass from Frans Nielsen. Veteran Darren Helm drew the second assist on the goal.
Aleksander Barkov snapped a seven-game goalless drought 4:47 later to put the Cats back on top. Nick Bjugstad found Evgenii Dadonov with a long pass at the Red Wings blue line and he sent Barkov speeding into zone. Barkov moved in on Petr Mrazek before finishing with a hard wrister from just inside the right circle.
DeKeyser lit the lamp again three minutes into the final frame knot the score, giving Detroit a chance keep sole possession of fourth place in the Atlantic. Nielsen took a long shot that was tipped on goal by Helm. DeKeyser went for the rebound and directed the puck in with his skate as he was being pushed to the ice by Bjugstad.
Huberdeau put on the hero cape and came up with the late decider at 19:51, crashing the net to pot a loose puck after Mrazek stopped Yandle’s one-timer from above the right circle. Ekblad collected the second assist for sliding the puck over to Yandle, giving all three players in on the goal two points on the night and the Panthers a huge win after video review deemed no goalie interference.
Surprise key cog Harri Sateri made 26 saves for his third straight victory, giving Florida just its second three-game winning streak of what has been a maddeningly inconsistent season thus far. The Cats are now only seven points out of a playoff spot, with two games in hand on Philadelphia. The Vancouver Canucks make their only appearance in Sunrise on Tuesday for the middle tilt of the three-game homestand that ends against two days later against Los Angeles.
Full Highlights (courtesy of NHL.com)
Cherries & Lemons
- Aaron Ekblad became just the 15th defenseman in NHL history with at least ten goals in each of his first four seasons.
- Jonathan Huberdeau’s assist on Ekblad’s goal allowed him to hit the 50-point plateau for the third time. Huberdeau is now eight points from matching his career-high of 59.
- Danny DeKeyser entered Friday night’s game against Carolina with just one goal. He scored against the Hurricanes, added a brace against Florida in his 350th NHL game, and all of the sudden has four.
- The Panthers are 14-0-0 in 2017-18 when leading after two periods. That’s pretty impressive.
- Petr Mrazek finished with 30 saves in his third straight start for Detroit. Like many Red Wings, he was bitter about the game-winning goal standing.
- Defenseman Alex Petrovic played in his 200th career game, all for Florida.
- Lose your mind about the Panthers win, which gave them the season-series, in the Detroit Rock City confines of Winging It In Motown.