Red Wings erupt for two goals in third period, put away Panthers 4-1 to end 8-game slide

Detroit News

Ted Kulfan
| The Detroit News

The chicken tenders and variety of party snacks tasted a little better for Red Wings fans.

Marc Staal and Givani Smith, not usual offensive producers, and Robby Fabbri and Vladislav Namestnikov (empty net) had goals and goaltender Thomas Greiss stopped 36 shots Sunday as the Wings defeated Florida 4-1 in a Super Bowl Sunday matinee.

BOX SCORE: Red Wings 4, Panthers 1

Smith added an assist on Fabbri’s goal, and later got into a fight with Florida’s Aaron Ekblad after Smith had a big hit on Florida’s MacKenzie Weegar.

The victory ended an eight-game winless streak for the Wings (3-8-2), who hadn’t won since Jan. 19, defeating Columbus in overtime.

The victory was the first for Greiss as a Red Wing (1-7-2).

Florida’s Alex Wennberg sliced the Wings lead to 2-1 at 2:09 of the third period and put doubt into all the Wings’ fans getting ready for the Super Bowl.

But Greiss made a huge stop on a 3-on-1 Florida rush, and the Wings converted on the other end shortly after, with Fabbri giving the Wings a 3-1 lead at 9:11 putting in a loose puck in front of the crease.

Namestnikov salted the game away with an empty-net goal, the Wings earned their first road victory since Feb. 6, 2020.

Defenseman Anton Stralman lined a shot from the point that Wennberg tipped near the net and beat Greiss.

The Wings were without forward Tyler Bertuzzi (upper body) heading into the game, and lost two more forwards during the afternoon.

Anthony Mantha was scratched from the lineup before the game, for an undisclosed reason. Then in the first period, Luke Glendening (upper body) was lost for the game after taking a hit near the head area from Florida defenseman Radko Gudas.

Staal scored his first as a Wing at 2:58 of the second period, giving the Wings a 1-0 lead.

Staal’s defensive partner Troy Stecher lifted a shot from the top of the slot. The puck deflected off the stick of Sam Gager and slid to Staal, who drove through the slot and backhanded a shot past Florida goalie Chris Driedger.

Staal’s goal was only the second goal by a Red Wing defenseman this season (Danny DeKeyser has the other).

Smith extended the lead to 2-0 late in the period.

Smith stripped the puck from Florida defenseman Keith Yandle near Driedger’s net. Bobby Ryan got the puck, and found Smith in front of the net, Smith quickly wristing a shot past Driedger at 17:02, also Smith’s first goal this season.

Twitter: @tkulfan

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