Ted Kulfan | The Detroit News
Scoring goals has been a frequent Red Wings problem, and Tuesday in Florida it resurfaced.
The Wings didn’t get enough going offensively against the Panthers took advantage with a 2-1 victory, salvaging a split in the two-game series.
Filip Zadina scored his first goal of the season for the Wings’ lone goal.
The Wings (3-9-2) head to Nashville for two games to complete this six-game, longest road trip of the season.
Florida goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who has struggled this season, didn’t look entirely confident against the Wings.
The Wings had 32 shots on goal, but probably would have enjoyed testing Bobrovsky with some more high-quality opportunities.
Alex Wennberg and Patric Hornqvist (power play) scored Florida goals.
After being a healthy scratch Sunday, Anthony Mantha returned to the Wings’ lineup, and had a quality scoring chance of the rush late in the second period, ringing the puck just off the post.
Mantha replaced Luke Glendening (upper body), who was unavailable and is day-to-day.
Zadina opened the game’s scoring at 3:31 of the first period.
Dylan Larkin carried the puck through the middle and found Zadina on the flank. Zadina kicked the puck to himself, and quickly wristed a shot on the fly, beating Bobrovsky short-side, with little space between the post and Bobrovsky.
The Wings, playing with the lead, appeared to frustrate the Panthers through most of the first period, limiting chances and offensive zone time.
But the Panthers were able to tie the game on Wennberg’s second goal in two games.
The Wings were unable to clear the puck, began scrambling, and Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau found Wennberg alone in the slot and knocking the puck past goaltender Thomas Greiss at 15:54.
Bobrovsky came up with a key save late in the first period, foiling Filip Hronek from the hashmarks on a 4-on-2 Wings rush.
The Panthers took the lead thanks to their dangerous power play.
With Robby Fabbri in the box for tripping, Aaron Ekblad’s shot from the point glanced off Hornqvist’s chest, and just under Hornqvist’s jaw, past Greiss for Hornqvist’s sixth goal.
The Wings were 0-for-3 on the power play, including two attempts early in the third period trailing 2-1, but were unable to produce a needed, tying goal with little effectiveness.
Florida did a much better job defensively the second half of the game, limiting the Wings’ prime scoring chances.
After Tuesday’s morning skate, coach Jeff Blashill talked about the Wings’ playing with the type of competitiveness and attention to defensive detail that is needed for them to be competitive.
But as good as the overall effort was, the Wings have to replicate that type of effort consistently, said Blashill, especially being a difficult team to play against on the defensive end.
“We had an extremely high compete level the other day and we had it on a good number of nights, but that’s two in a row where our compete level was real high,” Blashill said. “We have to work, and to compete and ultimately we have to be hard to play against.
“For me, it means, one, competitiveness and physicality and two, really good and stingy defensively, be above them all night long and not give them free looks at our net, clogging up the neutral zone, defending really well.”
The Wings limited Florida to 22 shots, and for large portions of the game, were against effective at that end of the rink.