Detroit Red Wings: Shootout Struggles Continue In Heartbreaking Loss
The Detroit Red Wings continue to frustrate their fanbase with their awful showings in shootouts, as their 3-2 loss to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night was their 10th consecutive shootout loss (an NHL record). In 15 attempts, only Daniel Alfredsson and Tomas Tatar have connected in the tiebreaker, and Tatar did so in his first career attempt Tuesday night in Florida. It might seem like the easy course of action to blame goaltender Jimmy Howard for struggles in the shootout, but on a team with Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and other talented forwards there is plenty of blame to go around.
Things started off rough for the Red Wings, as what looked like a good goal for Jonathan Ericsson was called off due to goaltender interference. Replays showed that Dan Cleary, who was allegedly the offending party, was never in the crease and that contact was initiated by Panthers goaltender Tim Thomas. Todd Bertuzzi connected on the power play to give the Red Wings an actual 1-0 lead, and Datsyuk extended that lead to 2-0 with a goal (in his first game back after missing two weeks) early in the second period. In what has been an all-too-common theme this season, the third period proved to be the one that did in the Red Wings. Goals from Sean Bergenheim and Nick Bjugstad pulled the Panthers even, sending the game to overtime. Niklas Kronwall rang a shot off the crossbar in the extra frame, but that was as close as Detroit would get. Their last shootout win was in February of 2012, and with points at a premium in a very competitive Atlantic Division it is imperative that Detroit finds a way to start winning in the shootout.