Trocheck, Pirri lift Panthers past Red Wings in shootout victory
A change in the shootout lineup worked perfectly for the Florida Panthers.
Vincent Trocheck and Brandon Pirri had the only goals in the shootout to lift the Panthers to a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night.
Roberto Luongo made 29 saves through overtime and stopped Pavel Datsyuk and Gustav Nyquist in the tiebreaker to give the Panthers their second victory in two meetings against the Red Wings this season.
Trocheck and Pirri haven't normally been sent out for shootouts but coach Gerard Gallant acted on a hunch.
"We wanted to change it up because we've been struggling in the shootout," he said after his team broke an 0-4 drought in tiebreakers.
Tomas Fleischmann and Jonathan Huberdeau scored in the first period for the Panthers.
Riley Sheahan and Nyquist also scored in the first for Detroit and Jimmy Howard finished with 24 saves. The Red Wings dropped their second straight in a shootout and fell to 1-5 in tiebreakers this season.
"It's frustrating, it really is," Howard said after falling to 0-5 in tiebreakers, including a loss to Toronto two nights earlier. "We keep having meeting after meeting about it. We work on it in practice. Just gonna have to stick with it."
Backup Petr Mrazek, who has Detroit's lone shootout win, will start Saturday night at Toronto.
Sheahan got the Red Wings on the scoreboard first, flipping a rebound of Datsyuk's shot past Luongo for a power-play goal at 5:03.
Fleischmann tied it at 7:10 with his third goal of the season. Huberdeau wristed a shot past Howard with 6:05 left in the opening period to put the Panthers ahead.
However, Nyquist backhanded his 14th goal on the power play with 39 seconds left remaining in the period.
Jakub Kindl drew a double-minor for interference and cross-checking early in the third period but the Red Wings allowed just two shots and kept the game tied. Detroit outshot Florida 4-1 in overtime but none of them were good scoring chances.
"We played the game we wanted to play and we took it to the shootout," Luongo said after his 10th victory. "And in the shootout anything can happen."
Florida, which topped sluggish Detroit 4-3 here 10 days earlier, outshot Detroit 15-12 in the opening period and had better chances Friday, but managed just 10 more shots in the next 40 minutes.
The Red Wings have scored just three goals in shootouts this season but coach Mike Babcock said he's not losing sleep.
"Right now, when we get to the shootout we're not a confident group so we've just got to keep working on it," he said. "No sense hanging our heads or getting disappointed."
Stephen Weiss, a longtime Panthers player before joining the Red Wings last season as a free agent, did not return for the third period due to a shoulder injury. Babcock did not say how serious the injury was.
NOTES: Detroit D Danny DeKeyser missed the game with an upper-body injury. The club recalled Xavier Ouellet from Grand Rapids of the AHL to replace him. ... Florida F Scottie Upshall (lower body) and F Aleksander Barkov (upper body) missed their seventh and fourth games, respectively. ... Red Wings F Justin Abdelkader (shoulder) was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 30, the night he left a win over Vancouver. ... Panthers D Shane O'Brien, recalled from AHL San Antonio a day earlier, was a healthy scratch.