Detroit Red Wings’ skid hits six with 3-2 loss to Florida Panthers

Detroit Free Press

Helene St. James
| Detroit Free Press

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Their lineup depleted of yet another top forward, the Detroit Red Wings responded with their best start of the season.

Then they got into penalty trouble.

They made it interesting late in the third period Sunday at Little Caesars Arena, but not enough to avoid their winless streak growing to six with a 3-2 loss to the Florida Panthers.

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Tyler Bertuzzi missed the game after suffering an upper-body injury Saturday. Dylan Larkin fed an energetic start with his fourth goal of the season and second point of the weekend. But the Wings were not able to sustain their momentum in the second period, thwarted by penalties that led to two Panthers goals. The Wings came out with a stronger third period, but Carter Verhaeghe scored at 8:09 to put them behind by two goals.

The Wings pulled Thomas Greiss for an extra attacker with three minutes on the clock, and Anthony Mantha scored his second goal of the series with 1:48 to go.

The Wings come away from the weekend with a 2-6-2 record, and next face a road trip that takes them to defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay, then Florida and Nashville.

Six men out

The Wings already had five players in COVID-19 protocol — forwards Adam Erne, Robby Fabbri, Sam Gagner and Filip Zadina and defenseman Jon Merrill. To also lose Bertuzzi, who had been the team’s best player and scored his fifth goal Saturday, was a significant blow. Bertuzzi, Zadina and Fabbri make up half of the top two lines, and they, Gagner and Merrill are power play regulars. Mathias Brome moved onto Dylan Larkin’s line with Bobby Ryan, and Vladislav Namestnikov centered the second line with Taro Hirose and Anthony Mantha. Givani Smith made his fourth appearance of the season, playing with Valtteri Filppula and Frans Nielsen, and Luke Glendening was with Michael Rasmussen and Darren Helm.

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Twenty men on

Despite missing key players, the Wings delivered one of their best periods of the season. Their power play, 4-for-31 coming into the game, looked threatening when a man advantage materialized 28 seconds after the puck drop. They created chaos in front of Chris Driedger and got three shots on net. Larkin stoked the momentum with a goal, capitalizing on a nice setup by Smith and stuffing a backhand at 4:12. The Wings got a power play out of that sequence, too, when Keith Yandle was called for unsportsmanlike conduct, and again did much better executing. The Wings had seven shots before the Panthers forced a save from Greiss, who faced only six shots in the first period while the Wings had 13 shots on Driedger.

Man advantage

The Wings got into penalty trouble early in the second period, though, when Rasmussen sent MacKenzie Weegar into the boards. Aaron Ekblad went after Rasmussen in retaliation. Referees slapped each of them with roughing calls, but Rasmussen got an additional two minutes for the hit. Patric Hornqvist converted on the power play, picking up his fifth goal of the season. Aaron Ekblad converted during the Panthers’ fourth man advantage, at 15:04 of the second period. The Panthers also scored two power play goals in Saturday’s 3-2 overtime victory.

Contact Helene St. James at Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from AmazonBarnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.

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