Misfiring Red Wings fall short to Panthers' power play in 3-2 setback
Detroit — The Red Wings aren’t scoring power-play goals, but other teams are.
And Sunday, the Florida Panthers took advantage of their ability on the man advantage — and the Wings’ lack thereof — to defeat the Wings 3-2.
Florida completed the weekend sweep of the quick, back-to-back series and two-game Wings’ home stand.
The Wings (2-6-2) now head on the road for a six-game, 11-day trip while winless in their last six games (0-4-2).
The Panthers scored two power-play goals, giving them four the weekend, while the Wings didn't convert on three chances Sunday — and seven for the two games.
Still, by appearances' sake, the Wings had quality chances and were much more dangerous with the man advantage.
They simply didn't score.
"The power play looked good, if you're going to have those power plays consistently, you're going to score," coach Jeff Blashill said. "Entries were real good. We had our opportunities to score. We had chances to score and that's all you want."
Blashill sat Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha for several opening power plays Saturday, before returning the pair to the unit later in the game. Both were on for all four power plays Sunday, and both also scored the Wings' goals Sunday.
"On the power play, there was less thinking and we did a great job on our entries," Larkin said. "We just have to capitalize and get hungrier around the net."
A main downfall Sunday was not being disciplined enough and keep putting a red-hot Florida power play on the ice.
"We want to be hard to play against but we can't cross over that line and take bad penalties," Larkin said. "Penalties around the net and needless mistakes. We have to be more disciplined."
Mantha's tap in cut the Florida lead to 3-2 at 18:12, Mantha's third goal and second in two games.
But the Wings weren't able to gather one more quality scoring opportunity.
"We came out and played great in the first, score early, had some power-play opportunities, it looked good, but we have to find a way to score," Blashill said. "They leaned on us a bit in the second, but we leaned on them in the third. We walk out of this game knowing we out-chanced them, and didn't win, so that's disappointing.
"We played good enough to win but we have to find ways to win these close games."
Larkin opened the scoring with his fourth goal,
Larkin converted a 2-on-1 rush with Givani Smith, giving the Wings the lead at 4:12.
But the Panthers rallied for two power-play goals in the second, goals from Patric Hornqvist and Aaron Ekblad, to take the lead.
Ekblad's one-timer from the dot broke a 1-1 tie at 15:04.
Carter Verhaeghe gave the Panthers cushion, and the eventual game-winner, redirecting a pass from Aleksander Barkov on a delayed penalty, making it 3-1 at 8:09.
The Panthers matched the two power-plays goals they scored the night before in a 3-2 overtime victory.
Meanwhile, the Red Wings were unsuccessful on three attempts, completing a weekend 0-for-7.
Thomas Greiss, making his second consecutive start with Jonathan Bernier (upper body), stopped 27 shots, while Florida’s Chris Driedger made 32 saves
The Wings will be getting some of their players on the COVID-19 protocol list gradually this week.
Robby Fabbri and Adam Erne could be back as soon as Wednesday in Tampa, while Sam Gagner, Jon Merrill and Filip Zadina are likely to filter in during the early part of the road trip.
Tyler Bertuzzi, who suffered an upper-body injury in Saturday’s loss, was unavailable for Sunday’s game. Blashill said Sunday Bertuzzi is day-to-day.
In Bertuzzi’s place Sunday, forward Givani Smith made a positive contribution, making a nice play setting up Larkin on the 2-on-1 rush.
"Gio has done a solid job, he's very good when he gets the offensive zone, both on the forecheck and certainly in the offensive zone," Blashill said. "He's real strong on the puck and he knows how to get to the net."
Wings defensive prospect Moritz Seider suffered a shoulder injury Thursday playing for his team, Rogle BK, in Sweden and could be out an extended period of time,
According to Fox Sports Detroit, the Wings believe Seider will be out for "quite some time." Rogle BK's website is unclear about Seider's injury.
... The Wings have lost their last eight decisions to Florida dating back to October 20, 2018.
... Larkin's goal was his team-leading eighth point (four goals, four assists) and his sixth point in the last seven games.
... Mantha has goals in the past two games, after a tough start offensively to the season.
“Anthony cares, he wants to be a good player, he’s just got to keep grinding," Blashill said. "The biggest thing with any of our guys is to make sure you’re proactive with your work ethic ahead of time so then you’re in good positions to check, get pucks and attack better the other way.
"Anthony has done a better job at that.”