Preview: Panthers begin lengthy road trip with showdown against Red Wings
TV: FOX Sports Florida
Time: 7:30 p.m.
DETROIT — The outcomes were similar and the postgame comments were the same from both the Detroit Red Wings and Florida Panthers following their most recent performances.
On Saturday, the Wings fell 6-1 to the St. Louis Blues to drop to 1-1 on their current five-game homestand, while the Panthers were humbled 7-3 at home by the Colorado Avalanche to end a three-game homestand.
As the two Atlantic Division foes prepared to face each other Monday at Little Caesars Arena, both come into the contest sharing common assessments of their last outing.
“You don’t want to lose at home 6-1, but the first two periods I thought we did a lot of good things,” Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “But the puck ended up in our net and not their net.”
Panthers coach Bob Boughner’s postgame comments seemed to echo Zetterberg’s words.
“Every team gets breakdowns,” Boughner said. “That’s when you need your goalie to make a big save. We didn’t allow a lot of chances. We didn’t. The ones that we did went into the net.”
Carrying the load for the injured Roberto Luongo (upper body), Panthers backup goalie James Reimer allowed four goals for the eighth time in 16 games this season. In Detroit, Wings goalie Jimmy Howard, who was brilliant through the first six weeks of the season, gave up four goals again for the fifth time in eight starts and the sixth time in his last nine appearances.
“Jimmy’s been really good for us all year,” Zetterberg said. “He probably wants a few back this game, but it happens.”
Howard wasn’t about to debate his captain’s assessment.
“I need to come (up) with saves for the guys,” Howard said. “At the end of the day the guys did their job and I have to do mine for them.”
The Panthers, 1-2-2 in their last five games, have struggled to find the net, scoring more than three goals just three times in their last 12 games, but at least there’s an excuse for the malady.
They are without injured center Aleksander Barkov (lower body) and right wing Evgenii Dadonov (shoulder), who have combined for 17 goals between them this season.
“Not having Daddy and Barky in the lineup, sooner or later, it’s going to catch up to you,” Boughner said.
As the Panthers begin a five-game road swing in Detroit, others have sought to pick up the slack. Defenseman Aaron Ekblad and forward Denis Malgin are each riding three-game goal-scoring streaks.
The Wings have topped three goals just once in their last 10 games, but can’t blame injuries for their goal-scoring woes.
It starts with Zetterberg, who has gone a career-high 22 games without scoring. Center Dylan Larkin leads the team with 23 points, but has endured nine games in a row without a goal. Right winger Anthony Mantha is Detroit’s goal-scoring leader with 12, but has netted just two in his last 10 games.
Defenseman Mike Green, second on the team with 16 assists, has one point (a goal) in the last 10 games.
Detroit coach Jeff Blashill believes his team is doing things the right way and if they stay with it, will ultimately produce results.
“Certainly through the first 40, I thought we played probably as good as we have,” Blashill said of the loss to the Blues. “Unfortunately we didn’t score. What I do is you’ve just got to keep playing like that.
“That’s what you control, how you play, so you’ve got to come back on Monday and play the same way.”