8 observations from Detroit’s 6-2 loss to the Panthers

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The Red Wings wrapped up their road trip through the sunshine state facing the Florida Panthers in their 2nd meeting of the season. In what would be a 6-2 loss, here are some key takeaways.

1. Lots of changes in lines coming into the game. The top line consisted of Namestnikov – Larkin – Raymond once again, as Zadina was moved down to the 3rd. The Guelph Line was split up, with Veleno taking Suter’s place and Suter being between Zadina and Erne on the 3rd line. On the defensive side, Seider was still paired with Leddy while DeKeyser and Lindstrom were paired together on the 3rd line- both of which were out of the lineup against Tampa Bay.

2. Robby Fabbri gets the Wings on the board off of an assist from Danny DeKeyser. In the 1st period as the Red Wings trailed 1-0, the third line defense set up a brilliant shot for Robby Fabbri. Gustav Lindstrom passed the puck to Danny DeKeyser back near the blue line of the Panthers’ zone and DeKeyser found Fabbri behind the defense near the bumper spot- giving him a wide open back door shot.

3. Thomas Greiss gets his 1st start since Toronto. After a bit of a resting period for the Detroit goaltender, this game was a rude wakeup call. Facing 23 shots in 31 minutes of play, Greiss allowed five goals and was swiftly replaced by Alex Nedeljkovic. Walking out of the 2nd period with a .783 SV%, Greiss will need to get back on his game before facing future action.

4. Way too many penalties being taken, allowing too many power play goals against. In Friday’s game against the Lightning, Detroit allowed three power play goals which brought Tampa to a  3-1 victory. Out of the six goals allowed in last night’s contest, two of them were power play goals- leaving only one power play chance without a goal for the Panthers. Giving up these goals and not being able to score when on a power play is a lethal combination that has proven to hurt Detroit in these last two games and throughout their season.

5. Struggling with faceoffs against the Panthers offense. In this matchup, Detroit only won roughly 36% of faceoffs, which hurt them in terms of maintaining possession of the puck throughout the game. Having the momentum of winning a faceoff can push play from one zone to the other or determine the direction of play from the neutral zone- something that would’ve changed the tide of the game for Detroit had their performance been better.

6. Defensive issues continue. One constant throughout this season has been a very weak Red Wings defense. Outside of showstopper Moritz Seider, there is not much going on behind the blue line. In games like this where the goals against was this high, there’s something to be said about the defensive play as a whole. Even if there were not stand out mistakes that everyone would have noticed, there were little things here and there that jeopardized Detroit once again. Experimenting with defensive line pairings could eventually solve bits and pieces of the defensive crisis but there is much more to be done with acquiring new defensive assets and letting go of some others.

7. Tyler Bertuzzi scores 2nd for the Wings. Late in the 3rd period when the outcome had already been decided, Tyler Bertuzzi got a quick goal straight off of a faceoff taken by Joe Veleno. Although this goal did not necessarily change the outcome, this got Bertuzzi out of his apparent “funk” he has been in as of late where he has not been racking up points the way he was in the front half of the season.

8. 2nd straight road loss on Florida roadtrip for Detroit. After facing the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers on their home ice, the Red Wings return back to Detroit empty handed. The Red Wings prepare to face off against the Arizona Coyotes at LCA on Tuesday and then the Minnesota Wild on Thursday- hoping to secure some well-needed victories.

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