Florida Panthers at Detroit Red Wings game preview
The Florida Panthers appear poised not to let their most recent setback completely derail another run of success.
They can bounce back Monday night with a second victory in five days over the Detroit Red Wings, who will try to win back-to-back home games for the first time in almost two months.
Florida (31-15-6) seemed headed for a sixth straight victory Saturday before allowing Pittsburgh to tie the game with two goals in the final 5:04 of regulation in the eventual 3-2 overtime defeat. Though disappointed, the Panthers were hardly sulking.
"There was a lull in our step but we got the one point,"?defenseman Alex Petrovic said. "I think we just brush this one off. We’ll bounce back, get ready for the next game."
For the third time this season, the Atlantic Division-leading Panthers have a point in at least five consecutive games. That’s perhaps one reason this confident group doesn’t expect that loss to mentally linger.
"I feel a lot better with this team because we know what to do … and (can) concentrate the same way we have been doing the last (few) games," said forward Aleksander Barkov, who has a goal in a career-high four consecutive games and at least one point in the last six.
"We have to play 60-minute games."
Florida did so while winning the season’s first two meetings with Detroit (26-18-8), most recently 6-3 at home Thursday. The Panthers’ Vincent Trocheck had two goals with an assist and Jaromir Jagr also scored and topped the 1,100-assist mark with two.
The Panthers, who totaled 25 goals during their recent win streak, scored twice on the power play against the Red Wings. They are 8 for 22 with the man advantage in the last five after failing to convert any of their 25 chances in the previous nine.
Despite yielding a season high for goals at Florida, Detroit coach Jeff Blashill was happy with his team’s overall effort.
"I thought our Florida compete level was awesome," he said. "It didn’t go our way that night but certainly if your compete level is like that every night it’s going to go your way eventually."
The Red Wings rebounded with a more solid defensive effort to snap an 0-4-1 home skid with Saturday’s 5-1 victory over the New York Islanders. Dylan Larkin and Tomas Tatar each had a goal with an assist and Petr Mrazek stopped 28 shots for Detroit, which can win consecutive home contests for the first time since a four-game run Dec. 1-10.
"It is imperative that we get wins at home," said veteran defenseman Mike Green, who has a goal in two straight games. "We haven’t been getting our points at home, so (Saturday) was a big night for us to get going in the right direction."
Jimmy Howard yielded five goals on 32 shots at Florida last week but the Panthers are likely to see Mrazek, who is 8-2-1 in 2016 and has a 1.30 goals-against average in his last 10 starts. He made 30 saves in a 2-1 overtime home defeat to Florida on Nov. 29.
Second among NHL rookies with a team-leading 37 points, Larkin has three goals against the Panthers and four with three assists in the last six games.
Florida’s Roberto Luongo has a 1.93 GAA during a three-game winning streak at Detroit.