Luke Glendening pulled off a huge contribution with two goals on the night that kept Detroit’s fire breathing strength. The Detroit Red Wings continue a six game winning streak defeating the Florida Panthers 5-4 at BB&T Arena Tuesday night. Their victory puts them in the lead in the Atlantic Division for the first time this season
After a six day break that included sending no one to replace Jimmy Howard, the Red Wings get back to work on a two game road trip through Florida meeting with the Panthers who have their number. They have their eyes on breaking Detroit’s five game winning streak that will be tough to break. Petr Mrazek gets back into net after sharing time with teammate Tom McCollum who won a game last week against Buffalo. With rumors of Jonas Gustavsson coming back soon the pair of young goaltenders will try and keep the pressure on opposing teams until the day arrives.
Mrazek was challenged right off the faceoff where the Panthers got to firing the shots in the Red Wings zone but weren’t gaining any ground. Detroit looked to struggle as well but had an edge of energy against them in many aspects. On a Panthers power play they turned the puck over for Drew Miller to get Detroit on the board with an easy breakaway while shorthanded getting ahead of rookie Aaron Ekblad to score his third.
Detroit put them on another power setting up a 5 on 3 that they couldn’t mess up. They made their time with the two-man advantage count where a pass play ended on the stick of Aleksander Barkov who fired from the side of Mrazek hitting top shelf for his fifth. With time left on the power play, the Panthers got out to a 2-1 score on a slapshot from Brandon Pirri that went through the legs of Mrazek and crossed the line before Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser could clear it out. Florida played tight on the defense to hold off any late breaks from Detroit to hold the lead through twenty minutes.
Detroit changed up the second period in a strong show of force where Henrik Zetterberg who is coming off a huge hat trick from last week, scored just 32 seconds in to the period on a wrister giving him a four game point streak adding his 15th of the season. His captaincy helped not only tie the game but push his team to open up the gap for their benefit. Glendening got the message and notched his fifth of the season on a rebound in front of the Panthers net after the team turned the puck over for the lead to go to the Red Wings.
Stephen Weiss got one against his former team as he quietly for in front of Luongo’s stick side to have no one noticing his moves and gained his sixth. Glendening recorded his second of the night on a play that began with Weiss faking a split through the Florida defense only to break to his right, fire a shot that the youngster got hold off to shoot the puck in making it a 5-2 lead for the Red Wings. Florida coach decided to pull Luongo and give Al Montoya some time to give his team a chance to come back.
Detroit’s four unanswered came to a close as the Panthers countered on another power play goal that Nick Bjugstad put in behind Mrazek to get them within a pair. The third period could see anything occur with the Panthers still on the prowl with a 26-18 lead on shots to the net.
The Panthers still had some fight in them but the Red Wings were holding their attempts back with blocked shots and takeaways. Time was coming off the clock and there was still plenty of time for Florida to get into it. They cut Detroit’s lead down to a goal where Brad Boyes scored his tenth of the season on an open net from the glove side of Mrazek. The intensity picked up between both teams as the Panthers continued to take shots that were going off the net and being stopped by Mrazek.
With his goaltending holding firm, Detroit pressed their offense in the Florida end trying to get another goal on Montoya. They wouldn’t face him in the final two minutes as he was pulled from the net to try and help Florida tie the game before the end of regulation. They couldn’t on a stop of play that brought Montoya back out and seal the victory for the Red Wings to keep on their hot streak.
I’m just glad we got the win,” Glendening said to Fox Sports John Keating. “It wasn’t always pretty but after a break it’s always nice to get a win.” The atmosphere in the arena was full of fans from Michigan who were enjoying the Florida sun and the love of hockey. “We had a lot of wings fans here so that was fun and then the road game, but we let our foot off the gas for a little bit but we hung on.”
Mrazek ended the night with a big win making 37 saves for his tenth win this season holding steady at 2.44 GAA and a .914 save percentage. With the team in the lead they will fight for their seventh win and their spot at the top meeting the Tampa Bay Lightning Thursday.