Red Wings squander three-goal lead, lose to Panthers in shootout
Detroit — The losses keep coming for the Red Wings.
Be it in the standings or in the lineup, they keep losing — and there’s no end in sight.
They ushered in the New Year with another gut-wrenching loss, watching a three-goal lead disappear in a 4-3 shootout loss to Florida.
Jonathan Huberdeau scored the lone goal from either team in the shootout, as the Panthers rallied from a 3-0 first-period deficit with three goals of their own in the middle 20 minutes.
“Frustrating to lose a game like that, give up a three-goal lead,” forward Gustav Nyquist said.
The Wings also lost another defenseman — Trevor Daley, who broke his foot in the morning skate — making this present situation eerily similar to October, when the Wings had four regulars injured, contributing to a brutal start.
Daley will miss three-to-five weeks, said coach Jeff Blashill, joining defensemen Danny DeKeyser and Mike Green, and forwards Anthony Mantha and Darren Helm — both forwards could return within a week — to a rapidly depleted lineup.
“I didn’t think it (Daley's injury) was a big deal, and it’s a big deal,” Blashill said. “Our record is reflective when those guys have been out (of the lineup). We haven’t won enough games. Guys that are here have to play great hockey.”
Blashill said he’ll discuss with general manager Ken Holland recalling a defenseman from Grand Rapids, although it likely will not be until after Wednesday’s game against Calgary.
Andreas Athanasiou, Nyquist and Thomas Vanek had first-period goals, while Dylan Larkin assisted on Nyquist’s goal, stretching Larkin’s streak to 14 consecutive games with a point.
Nyquist and Vanek scored 59 seconds apart against goaltender Roberto Luongo, giving the Wings a 3-0 lead and putting the Wings seemingly in control of the game.
Luongo was replaced by James Reimer to begin the second period, and maybe that was the spark Florida needed.
Or maybe it was Jared McCann’s shorthanded goal at 6:19 of the second period that ignited the Panthers.
A Wings’ neutral zone turnover led to the goal, which led to a poor Wings’ second period.
“When they scored, we didn’t play necessarily as good, we allowed the momentum to go the other way,” Blashill said. “We didn’t play with confidence after they scored. We have to play with more confidence than that.”
Henrik Borgstrom and Jayce Hawryluk added second-period Panthers goals, tying the score at 3.
“We weren’t as good, probably, as the 3-0 lead but we scored, we played good hockey,” Blashill said. “We stopped talking, we stopped moving our feet. We bogged ourselves down, and we weren’t in our end too much (in the second).”
Athanasiou appeared to have the ti-breaking goal in the third period, but the Panthers challenged, claiming Athanasiou was offside – and video confirmed it.
“That’s never a good feeling, obviously it’s part of the game,” Athanasiou said. “It’s part of the game, that’ll happen. Not much you can do about it. It was close.”
The Wings (15-19-7) reached the midway point in their schedule trending badly in the wrong direction.
They’ve won only once in their last 10 games (1-6-3), and only three times since Dec. 12 (3-8-4).
The playoffs are quickly becoming a pipe dream, and the Wings could see themselves battling to stay out of the bottom of the Eastern Conference — or if you’re of that thinking, hoping they do fall so to have better draft odds — the second half of the season.
“We’ve played a decent amount of good hockey (but) we don’t make enough plays, whether it’s defensive or offensive, to make sure to win the hockey game,” Blashill said. “We’ve been a good shootout team for a couple of years, we haven’t been a good shootout team (this season, 2-5).
“You learn and move on.”