Florida’s Offense Humbles Detroit in Barkov’s Return

Florida Detroit

Sunrise, FL – After a long road trip that saw both wins and losses, the Florida Panthers returned to the FLA Live Arena and showed out against the playoff-hopeful Detroit Red Wings, scoring four goals in the second period and cruising to a 5-1 victory.

In an offensive stalemate for the majority of the first period, the Panthers broke through on the scoreboard first and kept on breaking in the second period, with Detroit’s defense having no answers and their offense being just as silent.

A Much Needed Return to Sunrise

So far this season, Florida has been the embodiment of mixed results. With a 12-10-4 record entering this game, the Panthers have been unable to win at least three straight games at any point so far.

While they came close with two wins against the Vancouver Canucks and Seattle Kraken, Florida finished off their five-game road trip with a 5-2 loss against the Winnipeg Jets.

Detroit has been in a similar situation. After winning four straight games in mid-November, the Red Wings lost three in a row, then won two straight against the Columbus Blue Jackets and Tampa Bay Lightning.

This was also a return to the ice for Panthers center Aleksander Barkov, who missed the past six games for Florida due to illness. At the same time, two other players for the Panthers missed the game due to illness- center Anton Lundell and goalie Spencer Knight.

The Red Wings get Clipped Early

The first period was full of action but not much scoring.

Three penalties were exchanged between both teams. Florida was hit first with a holding penalty two minutes in, but their defense prevailed.

Detroit then committed a holding penalty five minutes later, but the Panthers also struggled against the Red Wing’s defense. An interference call was on Detroit after four minutes, but nothing came out of it still.

All the while, Florida made themselves the more aggressive team on offense with over 20 shots in the first period, with the majority on goal. On the other end, Detroit was quiet with their sticks, only managing five shots.

The Panthers finally broke through when Chris Tierney broke away with the puck and nailed a backhand shot to score his first goal as a Panther in his first-ever game.

Tierney’s goal closed out the first period, and Florida held on to an early 1-0 lead.

Detroit Sees a Whole Lotta Red

The second period was a bust one with scoring, with the majority of goals committed by the Panthers.

They began less than two minutes in, when Barkov launched a blast in which the puck bounced off of center Eetu Luostarinen’s stick and landed in the net, awarding him the goal and Florida a 2-0 lead.

Less than a minute later, Florida capitalized again when the puck that was shot by left-wing Matthew Tkachuk bounced off of Detroit’s goalie Alex Nedeljkovic and landed right in front of defenseman Josh Mahura, who chipped in an easy goal to extend the lead once more.

With seconds left in a power play, Detroit finally answered when Jonatan Berggren was left with a wide-open net after a deflection of the puck by Panthers Sergei Bobrovsky, which lowered Florida’s lead to 3-1 with 12 minutes to go in the period.

Florida’s offense was unfazed, and after eight shots on goal, defenseman Matt Kiersted rallied off a slew of shots at the net and sneaked in the fourth goal of the game.

Less than a minute later, Tkachuk carried the puck from one end of the rink to the other and sank a right-side shot that carried to the left side of the net, giving the Panthers another insurance goal and a 5-1 lead.

That was the last of the scoring in this game. As the second period ended and all 20 minutes of the third were played out, both defenses tightened up and held off power play opportunities, though it was way too late for Detroit to make a comeback.

Winging the Statistical Breakdown (& What’s Next)

Florida had more than double the shots, taking 41 shots compared just to 20 by Detroit. In addition, the Panthers won more face-offs and committed more takeaways. While both teams dealt with four penalties, the Red Wings were undermanned for eight more minutes.

No player for Florida scored more than a single goal or had more than one assist, but 13 players walked away with points earned from play. Bobrovsky finished the night only giving up a single goal, with 19 saves, seven of which were during power plays.

With a 13-10-4 record, Florida remains in fifth place in the Atlantic division, only a game behind Detroit.

The Panthers will have a day to rest before heading north to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday, December 10th at 4:30 PM. They’ll then head back to Sunrise for a three-game homestand, starting against the Seattle Kraken the following day at 6 PM.

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