Rookie Givani Smith scored a goal an added an assist and Thomas Greiss stopped 36 shots as the Detroit Red Wings ended the Florida Panthers eight-game point streak with a 4-1 victory at the BB&T Center on Sunday afternoon.
After a scoreless first period that saw the teams combine for 27 shots on goal, Marc Staal and Smith each lit the lamp for the first time this season in the second period to put the Red Wings on top. It was the first time the Cats have trailed after the second period this season.
Staal backhanded the puck into the net after Sam Gagner deflected Troy Stecher’s pass off Staal’s knee, putting him in a better position to beat Chris Driedger at the 2:58 mark.
Keith Yandle coughed up the puck in front of his own goal and Bobby Ryan quickly pass to Smith, who easily buried it with 2:58 left in the frame.
The first goal of the season trend continued into the third period, with Alexander Wennberg getting his first in a Panthers uniform to halve the deficit at 2:06.
Frank Vatrano tracked down Radko Gudas’ dump down low on the right sideboards and dropped the puck back to Anton Stralman, who let go of a drive from the point. Wennberg deftly deflected Stralman’s shot with the backhand side of his stick blade, sending the puck tumbling over Greiss, who was being screened by (who else?) Patric Hornqvist.
They worked HARD for this one!— FOX Sports Florida & Sun (@FOXSportsFL) February 7, 2021
Goal ➡️ Alex Wennberg (1st as a Panther).
2 #DETvsFLA 1 #FlaPanthers #OneTerritory #NHL
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: FOX Sports Florida
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Detroit regained a two-goal advantage at the 9:11 mark when Stecher found Smith with a nice pass in the top of the slot and the rookie’s ensuing shot on goal was denied by Driedger. Unfortunately, the rebound ended up on Robby Fabbri’s blade and he was able to sweep it home.
Vladislav Namestnikov put the game away, and ended Detroit’s eight-game losing streak, with an empty-net breakaway goal, thanks to another Florida turnover, at 17:18.
Just one of those days for the Cats, who registered a season-high 37 shots, but couldn’t get the puck past Greiss, who picked up his first win wearing the famed Winged Wheel. The Red Wings did a good job of clogging up the neutral zone, and only gave the Panthers one power-play opportunity the whole game, which helped keep Florida’s offense at bay. Frustrating to be the team that Detroit got off the snide against. A better effort will be needed on Tuesday.
Gears & Spokes
- Florida lost in regulation to Detroit for the first time since January 5, 2018. The Panthers compiled a 9-0-1 record against the Red Wings over that span.
- Givani Smith completed the Gordie Howe Hat Trick (goal, assist, fighting major) when he tussled with Aaron Ekblad at 12:38 of the third period.
- A rare loss for Chris Driedger, who still gave his team a chance to win. Driedger finished the tilt with 35 saves.
- Frank Vatrano picked up his first assist of the season and he shared the game-high in shots on goal (five) with Ekblad and Sam Gagner.
- Robby Fabbri’s insurance goal came less than a minute after Thomas Greiss made a save on Owen Tippett on an odd-man rush. Tippett is still looking for his first marker of 2020-21. He had two shots on goal and played 16:11.
- Forward Mason Marchment made his Panthers debut, recording three hits and a -1 rating in 7:56 of ice time.
- For the happier side of Florida’s first loss in regulation, make a pit stop at Winging It In Motown.