After what was their best win all season two nights ago against Tampa Bay, the Red Wings came out flat tonight against the Panthers. Detroit had a horrific night defensively, dropping 5-1 to Florida. The lone bright spot in this game was a Jonatan Berggren goal in the second period. Other than that, the Red Wings were completed outplayed. Florida ran away with this one scoring four goals in the 2nd period. Two of those, being back to back goals within 50 seconds to extend the lead to 3-0. The Panthers outshot Detroit by nearly 10 shots in each period, and 41 to 20 on the game.
Florida (13-10-4) is now only one point behind the Red Wings (13-8-5) for 4th place in the Atlantic Division as both teams continue to battle for that final playoff spot. Detroit heads to Dallas to face the Stars Saturday night.
Detroit’s defense has taken a huge step forward within the last ten games contributing on both ends of the ice. A huge chunk of their success could be credited to offseason additions Oilli Maatta and Jake Walman. Both of who were out of tonight’s lineup. Maatta missed due to an illness, meanwhile Walman scratched coaches decision. Robert Hagg suited up alongside Gustav Lindstrom to complete the third pairing in. The pairing itself showed some rust, although you can’t control Maatta missing time with an illness. I didn’t agree with the benching of Jake Walman tonight. Walman since being inserted in the lineup, has played a cool, calm, collective role. Ultimately has meshed on the third line. Hagg and Lindstrom have struggled defensively throughout the year, also breaking out the puck. The third pairing clearly struggled tonight, the Red Wings will need Maatta and Walman in their next matchup against Dallas.
Red Wings’ Alex Nedeljkovic Has Another Rough Outing
Alex Nedeljkovic returned to the net tonight, his first start in just over a week. While the scoreboard looked relatable to a few of his other starts this year. He was not to blame in the contest. Ned was fed to the wolves tonight. With the scoring chances Florida had throughout tonight’s contest, the outcome could’ve been way worse. Nedeljkovic made countless desperation saves on odd man rushes given up by the defense. Meanwhile coming up huge on two of three power play opportunities the Panthers had tonight. Ned has had his struggles this year, but this loss wasn’t on the goaltender particularly.
Follow Detroit Red Wings Beat Reporter Michael Gentry (@MichaelGentryJr) on Twitter for more content & updates!
Photo Credit: © Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports