Sunrise, Fla. — So often recently Jeff Blashill has talked about the need for the Red Wings to not get down after allowing a goal.
But they keep doing it, allowing goals in bunches as they did Saturday in a 5-4 loss to Florida.
Panthers forwards Mike Hoffman and Dominic Toninato scored nine seconds apart early in the second period, erasing a 3-2 Wings lead and helping send Detroit to its fifth consecutive loss — and 17th in 19 games (2-15-2).
Hoffman buried a rebound at 6 minutes, 39 seconds in close, after goaltender Jimmy Howard made the initial stop on Brian Boyle. Then, just nine seconds later, Valtteri Filppula lost control of the puck near the net and Toninato scored his fourth goal on a backhand.
So much for the Wings' lead.
“I wish I had an answer for you, I really do,” said Howard, of why the Wings have allowed so many quick, consecutive goals this season. “Next thing you know, you’re down 4-3 and it’s tough on everyone mentally.”
Anton Stralman scored his fourth goal — with the teams skating four aside — at 13:24 of the third period, giving the Panthers a 5-3 lead.
Luke Glendening cut it to 5-4 at 15:49 — his fifth goal — with Howard pulled for an extra attacker, but the Wings couldn’t get the equalizer.
With the season being where it is currently, and the losses mounting to a staggering number, the Wings at least made this a game until the final buzzer.
“We played our butts off, we played tough, we played competitive, we played hard,” Blashill said. “It’s as good as we’ve played in a long time. We played fast.”
Darren Helm and Dylan Larkin scored 38 seconds apart midway in the first period, giving the Wings a 2-1 lead. Frans Nielsen added his first goal of the season, a shorthanded goal 46 seconds into the second period, making it 3-1, and giving the Wings some real hope.
But Florida’s Brett Connolly cut the Wings lead to 3-2 on the same power play, snapping a rebound past Howard for his 15th goal at 1:58.
Hoffman (13th goal, at 6:39) and Toninato (fourth goal, 6:48) then put the Panthers ahead for keeps.
“We definitely have had stretches this year when we get down on ourselves when we get scored on,” Nielsen said. “I didn’t have that feeling tonight. But for some reason it snowballed on us in the second period and that’s been another of our issues, second periods.
“(But) this is far from our worst game this year. We did a lot of good stuff out there. We created a lot of chances against a good team.
“But special teams, we find ways to beat ourselves.”
The Wings, already without Anthony Mantha (upper body) and Danny DeKeyser (back), lost Filppula to an apparent upper body injury in the second period.
Blashill wasn’t sure if Filppula would be ready to play Sunday in Tampa.
Blashill said goaltender Jonathan Bernier (groin) should be ready for Sunday’s game.