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.
“We had chances, we had looks on the power play and zone time and we just didn’t get it by (goaltender Sergei) Bobrovsky,” forward Dylan Larkin said. “It could have gone either way. We played hard. We made mistakes, but we made up for them with work ethic and our compete level.”
The Wings (3-9-2) head to Nashville for two games to complete this six-game, longest road trip of the season.
“These are the types of games we need to put ourselves in and keep finding ways to win,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “We had chances on the power play, but we have to find ways to score.”
The Wings were 0-for-3 on the power play, including two attempts early in the third period trailing 2-1.
“It would have been real nice to score there,” Larkin said. “Like I said, we had our looks. In the end, we have to get it into the net.”
Bobrovsky, who has struggled this season, didn’t look entirely confident against the Wings at times. The Wings had 32 shots on goal, but couldn’t get another goal when it was needed.
“We just have to put the puck in the net, it’s pretty simple,” Zadina said. “We need to find a way to put it in the net. We had good chances. it’s tough to say, but we have to be better.”
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.
Mantha played 17:43, and had a team-high four shots on net.
“Anthony skated and competed and won a lot of pucks (battles),” Blashill said. “He was harder on the puck and did a lot of things that make Anthony Mantha a good player.”
Zadina opened the game’s scoring at 3:31 of the first period.
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 hash marks 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 the Panthers right wing’s jaw, past Greiss for his sixth goal.
The Wings limited Florida to 22 shots, and for large portions of the game, and were again effective at that end of the rink.
After getting humbled against Tampa at the start of this road trip, the Wings have put together three consecutive defensive efforts that were worthy of points in the standings.
That’s definitely something the Wings can build on going forward.
“We were better in this game defensively than we were in the game we won the other day,” Blashill said. “We competed real hard in both games, but we were better defensively overall in this game.
“Our guys are understanding that we have to be a great defensive team to have an opportunity to win. We still have a lot to learn from a puck management standpoint, especially at both blue lines, but we’ll keep working on it and keep grinding it home until we get it right.”