The Detroit Red Wings were in trouble soon after the game began, and weren’t able to undo the early damage.
The Florida Panthers had more at stake in Monday’s game at Little Caesars Arena, as they are trying to secure a hold of one of the wild card spots. The built two-goal leads three times, and used the last one to secure a 5-2 victory.
Ville Husso faced multiple quality chances. Pius Suter’s 13th goal breathed some life into the first period, and Dylan Larkin’s 26th goal made it 3-2 with 12:07 to play. But Eric Staal scored with 3:52 to play, and Carter Verhaeghe added his second goal of the game, during a power play, to run away with what had been a close game.
“It was easy offense for them in a couple situations,” coach Derek Lalonde said. “And then our inability to finish on a couple of our chances in the second, we probably could have gotten out of there with a second goal. So, it’s frustrating.”
Since winning seven of eight games on Feb. 23, the Wings have gone 2-9-1.
Simon Edvinsson, the No. 6 pick from 2021 who made his debut Saturday, was in the lineup for a second time because Gustav Lindstrom remained out with an undisclosed injury. Derek Lalonde said Edvinsson was “our best d, created some plays, was hard” after he played 14:17, registering one hit and drawing two penalties. He returned to the game after being checked by Radko Gudas, but Lalonde said Edvinsson was getting looked at by doctors after the game, and was unsure of his status.
The Wings started slow and paid for it. They got lucky early — Gustav Forsling’s attempt hit the crossbar and dropped into the paint, where the puck lay loose until Husso was able to cover it; Anthony Duclair seemed to have a clear shot on a wraparound, but shot wide. But when Lucas Raymond gifted the Panthers a chance with a turnover in Detroit’s zone, Sam Bennett fed Matthew Tkachuk for a 1-0 lead at 7:28. Verhaeghe fired a shot through traffic that eluded Husso while Bennett and Andrew Copp were by the crease.
The Wings challenged goaltender interference on the Verhaeghe goal, but video review showed that no infractions occurred prior to the goal. That meant the Wings were assessed a delay of game call, further hindering their efforts. But they got out of the first period in decent shape. David Perron carried the puck from the right flank to Florida’s net, seemingly beating Sergei Bobrovsky only to have the puck hit the goal post. Perron got his stick on the puck again and fed it into the paint, where Pius Suter was able to knock it up. It was a big goal because it doused some of the momentum the Panthers had built. It was Suter’s second goal in two games and third point in four games.
Her latest book, “On the Clock: Behind the Scenes with the Detroit Red Wings at the NHL Draft,” is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.