Red Wings-Panthers Preview
All season long, one of the biggest issues for the Detroit Red
Wings has been finishing games.
Having Pavel Datsyuk back might help them figure out how to stop
The Red Wings’ failure to close out again cost them over the
weekend against the Florida Panthers, but on Tuesday night they’re
expected to get the three-time Selke Trophy winner back as they hit
the road with a chance for revenge.
Detroit (15-9-7) ranks near the bottom of the league with 33
goals allowed in the third period and it’s lost five games when
leading after two periods – more than anyone in the league.
The Red Wings gave up four in the third in Wednesday’s 6-3 loss
to Philadelphia before beating New Jersey on Friday, and although
they didn’t blow a third-period lead Saturday in Florida, they did
lose for the second time in three games after scoring first.
Jonathan Huberdeau scored at 3:29 of the final period to give
Florida a 2-1 win as the Panthers outshot the Wings 28-14 over the
final two periods for their first win in eight tries within the
“We have to find ways to win games, and the way we have to play
right now is grind for 60 minutes,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock
said. “They skated better in the second and third, and we didn’t
make many plays.
“We talk about being mentally tough enough to find a way to
fight through in the third period, and we didn’t get it done.”
The return of Datsyuk, one of the league’s best defensive
forwards, should help after he missed seven games with a
concussion. Datsyuk has been a workhorse offensively against the
Panthers, producing five goals and eight assists in 10 career games
Henrik Zetterberg (herniated disc) is still at least a week away
from coming back, but Datsyuk’s return will give the Wings one half
of their dynamic duo back.
“Hank and Pav are all over the ice. We don’t have them, this is
what have right now,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall told the team’s
official website. “We’re a better team than what we showed. We have
to find ways to win games regardless if they’re in or not.
“Every team goes through injuries and right now that bug has hit
us a bit. Every team goes through it we just have to find a way
The Panthers (9-17-5) played a game a night after beating the
Red Wings on Saturday, losing to the Blackhawks 6-2 in Chicago. The
Blackhawks scored on 3 of 4 power-play opportunities, while the
Panthers were 0 for 5 with the man advantage.
“I don’t think we were very good to start the game,” interim
coach Peter Horachek told the team’s official website. “Obviously
to come back against this team in this building after giving them
that lead in the first period is going to be difficult, so
back-to-back is not an excuse … you have to be mentally tougher
and in that situation.
“You have to have some energy to make sure you’re doing all the
Panthers goalie Tim Thomas rested against the Blackhawks, but he
beat the Red Wings on Saturday and is expected to be in net again
for Florida. He was strong against Detroit, stopping 22 of 23
shots, but his 2.81 goals-against average isn’t good enough to
crack the league’s top 30.
The Red Wings’ Jimmy Howard (2.70 GAA) hasn’t been much better,
but he’s expected to be back in net Tuesday after Jonas Gustavsson
started the previous two games. Howard is 1-4-4 with a 2.92 GAA in
his last nine starts.
Tuesday marks the return of Stephen Weiss to Florida after the
center spent 11 years with the Panthers. Weiss signed a five-year,
$24.5 million deal with the Red Wings in July but has been a
disappointment, producing four points in 25 games.