Barkov goal gives Panthers 2-1 overtime win over Red Wings

Tom Rowe gets his first victory as Cats’ head coach

Say it ain’t so, Joe! Barring a playoff match up this spring, the Florida Panthers made their last trip to Joe Louis Arena a successful one with a 2-1 overtime win over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night. The Red Wings will leave The Joe for the new, state-of-the-art Little Caesars Arena in 2017.

The victory was Tom Rowe’s first as an NHL head coach and came in his second game since replacing Gerard Gallant behind the bench.

Florida fell behind early when Aaron Ekblad’s fancy between the legs pass in his own end rebounded off Aleksander Barkov and wound up on the stick of Henrik Zetterberg. Zetterberg collected the puck in the left circle and unleashed a backhand shot that beat Roberto Luongo at the 1:23 mark.

After a review took a Vincent Trocheck goal off the board due to Jason Demers being ruled offsides, Demers redeemed himself with 1:45 left in the first when his slapper struck Danny DeKeyser and flew by Petr Mrazek. Keith Yandle and Reilly Smith picked up the assists after a Trocheck face-off win.

The Panthers outplayed Detroit in the second period while the third period was evenly matched with each team producing six shots on goal. Failure to come to a decision in regulation time had a lot to do with special teams. The Cats went 0 for 6 on the power play and Detroit couldn’t convert on any of its four opportunities.

In overtime, Zetterberg made a bid for the winner after taking a feed from Anthony Mantha only to be foiled by Luongo, who finished the game with 20 saves.

Barkov snapped a streak of 21-games without a goal with 2:04 left in the extra session after getting loose for a breakaway while the Red Wings were making a change. After taking a long stretch pass from Jonathan Marchessault, Barkov moved in on Mrazek and deftly slid the puck between his legs for just his third of the season.

Florida has now won five times in overtime this season. That’s quite a difference from last year where they only won once in the five-minute extra session.

The Panthers move on to the Canadian capital of Ottawa, where a victory against the Senators will give them a winning record on this long road trip, which now stands at 1-1-1 halfway through.

Gears & Spokes

  • The Panthers are now a perfect 3-0 versus the Red Wings this season, including two wins at Joe Louis Arena.
  • Winning its final game at the Joe gave the Cats an all-time record of 9-6-3-1 in the venerable old building which opened in December of 1979. Florida won seven of its last eight in Detroit.
  • Aleksander Barkov’s goal was his first since he lit the lamp in a 4-1 win over Detroit in the second game of the season back on October 15. Barkov led all skaters with seven shots on goal.
  • Vincent Trocheck didn’t figure in the scoring, but his three-shot, two-hit performance earned him first star honors. Trocheck won eleven face-offs, one of which led to the Demers goal.
  • Petr Mrazek made 28 stops and saw his record fall to 6-5-1. Three of those five losses have come against the Cats.
  • Reilly Smith’s first period assist was just his second point in the last eleven games and first helper since November 3.
  • Jaromir Jagr played in his 1,653 game, breaking a tie with former teammate Mark Recchi for fourth all-time.
  • If you’re feeling great and just can’t wait, hit up Winging It In Motown for more./