| Detroit Free Press
The Detroit Red Wings made good on continuing to work hard, and earned some much-needed confidence.
Marc Staal and Givani Smith contributed their first goals of the season Sunday afternoon at BB&T Center to lift the Wings past the Florida Panthers, 4-1.
It was the Wings’ first victory on the road this season, snapping an eight-game winless streak. Smith set up Robby Fabbri on the insurance goal; it was Smith’s fourth point in six games, seemingly warranting a consistent roster spot after being on and off the taxi squad. Goalie Thomas Greiss did not get beat until early in the third period, when Alexander Wennberg scored. It was Greiss’ first victory with the Wings. Vladislav Namestnikov put the game away late in the third period
Smith even had a “Gordie Howe hat trick,” finishing it off with his fight with Aaron Ekblad in the third period, after goal and an assist.
The Wings lost Luke Glendening to injury in the first period and Anthony Mantha was a healthy scratch.
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Jeff Blashill said Saturday he did not anticipate anyone missing Sunday’s game because of injuries/illness. This week saw five players return to the lineup after being sidelined with COVID-19, but Tyler Bertuzzi has not played since leaving during the Jan. 30 game with an upper-body injury. Per Blashill’s update, that suggests Anthony Mantha was a healthy scratch. Mantha has struggled to start this season, with one goal in the Wings’ first eight games. He had a three-game goal-scoring streak end Friday at Tampa Bay. Mantha being pulled from the lineup created an opening for Mathias Brome to return to the lineup, playing on a line with Fabbri and Bobby Ryan. Smith subbed onto the top line with Dylan Larkin and Filip Zadina.
Glendening goes down
Glendening, one of the team’s best defensive players, suffered an injury midway through the first period. Glendening got hit high by Florida’s Radko Gudas at the far blue line and needed help getting off the ice. Gudas has a long history of nasty hits, including a hit to the head of former Wings forward Johan Franzen in December 2013, when Gudas played for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Gudas was not penalized by officials on the play, but the NHL could still review the incident. Glendening did not return to the game.
General manager Steve Yzerman acquired veteran defenseman Marc Staal in September in a trade with the New York Rangers, though the key part of the trade was a 2021 second-round pick for the rebuild. Staal made it 1-0 Sunday when he tapped in a backhand, connecting on Sam Gagner’s shot as Staal was near Florida’s net. It was Staal’s first goal, and third point, since joining the Wings, and Gagner’s first point since re-signing with the Wings in the offseason.
Contact Helene St. James at email@example.com. 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 Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.