Preview: Panthers want to keep things simple in matinee showdown with Red Wings
TV: FOX Sports Florida
TIME: Coverage begins at 2 p.m.
Bernier assumed he’d be taking his normal seat at the end of the Detroit Red Wings bench as the Wings faced the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. But when Jimmy Howard’s back seized up during the warm up, Bernier was pressed into action.
He made his second consecutive start on Thursday at Carolina and stopped 38 shots — 14 of them in the first period — as Detroit topped the Hurricanes 4-1, ending an 0-3-1 skid.
“Bernie was excellent,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill told Detroitredwings.com. “We needed him to be great in the first and he was.
“I thought he stood his ground hard. I thought he fought through traffic great. I thought he found pucks really well and he made big saves at big moments.”
“It was a good hockey team playing a team that didn’t look very good,” Panthers head coach Bob Boughner told nhl.com. “I think that we had too many passengers. We tried to overcomplicate the game. What we did last week against Toronto (in a 4-3 overtime win) was we had 20 guys working hard and working together.
“I thought we were just fragmented. I didn’t think we had the right mindset, and that’s what happens against a team like this. If you don’t have 20 guys all playing the same way, you can get blown out.”
The loss halted Florida’s brief two-game winning streak, the first time the Panthers had won consecutive games since a five-game win streak in early November. The Panthers are 2-4-1 in their last seven games.
Detroit has also been sliding of late. The Wings a 3-5-2 in their last eight games. They’ve surrendered at least four goals in five of those games, while Thursday’s win marked the first time in seven games that they’d scored better than three goals.
“Blash called us out a little bit after the last game (a 3-2 loss at Philadelphia),” Detroit forward Dylan Larkin said. “We’re aware of that. Everyone stepped up and played a solid road game.”
The Wings come home off a 1-1-1 road trip.
“Three points in three games on the road, we’ll take that,” Larkin said.
After this game, the Wings close out their pre-Christmas slate Sunday in Toronto.
“These games going into the break are huge for us,” Larkin said. “We’ve got to treat it like a playoff series and it’s not going to be easy with Florida and Toronto, but getting two points (against Carolina) definitely helps our confidence going into those games.”
The Panthers complete a four-game road trip Sunday at Chicago. Boughner indicated that Luongo would get the call Friday against Detroit and Reimer Sunday in Chicago.