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Panthers rock lowly Red Wings by 7-2 count

Cats get points from 12 different players in latest win

Florida Panthers v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Florida Panthers scored four times in the opening period en route to a 7-2 laugher over the Detroit Red Wings in the first of two games from Little Caesar’s Arena.

Florida got points from 12 different players to rock the Red Wings in Motown and remained one point ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes, who posted a 5-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, for first place in the Central Division.

After not finding the back of the net in his first 47 NHL appearances, Juho Lammikko made it two in a row when he opened the scoring after Brett Connolly’s pass, which ticked off Sam Gagner’s stick, found him in the slot at the 6:09 mark. The duo did some good work on the side boards to come up with the puck after Keith Yandle fired it deep into the Detroit zone for the first of his three assists on the night.

Jonathan Huberdeau would find trailer MacKenzie Weegar open in the left circle with a pretty pass a 1:49 later and he buried it for his first of the season. The Red Wings thought they had good coverage on the Cats, but the heady Huberdeau waited a beat and spotted the defensman joining the rush.

Speaking off pretty passing, Huberdeau went back to Yandle and he found Patric Hornqvist breaking open in front at 12:45 for the first of his two goals on the night. Hornqvist wisely headed to the net after helping Huberdeau win a battle along the boards to start the play off.

After Bobby Ryan pulled one back for the home team, beating Chris Driedger with a long slapper, Aleksander Barkov crashed the net to poke the rebound of Carter Verhaeghe by Thomas Greiss, who sprawled out to make the initial save. Greiss would not return for the second after Panthers put four by him on 13 shots.

Aaron Ekblad’s power-play one-timer from the top of the left circle at 19:38, with the assists going to Weegar and Anthony Duclair as the Cats passing created a caret, was the only goal in the second period; and Hornqvist and Duclair would tack on tallies to get the Panthers to seven after Valtteri Filppula opened the third period scoring when his shot deflected in off of Duclair’s stick.

The Panthers have played a lot of close games this season, including a trio of one-goal wins against Detroit, so it was nice to see them fill then net and cruise in what turned to be their most lopsided victory of the season. In addition to his goal, Barkov added two assists and Alex Wennberg and Anton Stralman also had helpers. Chris Driedger stopped 30 shots to win his third straight start. His best sequence came midway through second period with Florida up 4-1, when he denied Luke Glendening’s deflection and then robbed Darren Helm on the rebound. Full marks to the Panthers for not taking their foot off the gas after they chased the usually difficult Greiss. They put 26 shots on Jonathan Bernier and beat him three times to post a season-high seven goals and 39 shots.

Gears & Spokes

  • The Panthers tied a franchise record with the four first-period goals, the 19th time in their 27-season history they have scored that many in a regular-season game.
  • Florida’s 24 points through their first 15 games this season matches the most in franchise history (10-1-4, 24 points in 1996-97).
  • More franchise history: Jonathan Huberdeau’s 22 points are the most by any Panthers player through the first 15 games of a season. Huberdeau extended his point streak to three games, as did captain Aleksander Barkov.
  • The low scoring Red Wings are mired in an 11-game power play drought (0 for 33). Yikes...
  • Aaron Ekblad, Barkov, and Carter Verhaeghe all earned a +3 rating, matching Florida’s individual season high. Radko Gudas dished out a game-high five hits.
  • For the B-side of Florida’s latest win, zooma zooma zooma-Zoom (Zoom Zoom Zoom!) to Winging It In Motown.

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