The Detroit Red Wings needed a good performance to rebound from a drubbing at the hands of the Nashville Predators. Enter, the Florida Panthers. The Red Wings defense was strong for the first time in the last few weeks, holding the Panthers to only one goal on only 28 shots en route to a shootout victory and a massive two points in the race for 4th place in the Western Conference.
The Red Wings had conceded 4 goals or more in six of the last nine games coming into Joe Louis Arena on Sunday. Jimmy Howard was strong between the pipes, and the Wings’ defense that has been injury riddled over the last couple of weeks looked to be on form. The lone Florida goal was well deserved; some great stick handling from Stephen Weiss lead to a cross ice pass from Kris Versteeg to the stick of Tomas Fleischmann who slammed it home from the point.
The Detroit defense killed off a five minute major penalty issued to defenseman Kyle Quincey late in the third period. Two of the five minutes were even strength thanks to a Dmitry Kulikov minor penalty for tripping.
The puck moved better in the defensive and neutral zones for the Red Wings, but the finishing still isn’t quite there. Many, including yours truly, thought that the seven goal outburst against the Columbus Blue Jackets last week might open the offensive floodgates for Detroit, but to this point it hasn’t happened that way.
The win puts Detroit all alone in the 4th position in the Western Conference, one point over both the Predators and the Chicago Blackhawks. The Red Wings and Predators both have three games left on the schedule, while the Blackhawks only travel to Minnesota on Thursday before finishing the season at Joe Louis Arena against the Red Wings.