Detroit’s power play and offense was a no show at the Joe Louis Arena allowing the Panthers to snatch away a win Sunday. Brian Campbell scored the game-winning goal in overtime to win 2-1 against the Red Wings. Four chances on the man advantage came and went, as their lack of offense was their demise to drop a fifth straight against Florida at home.
After a huge win Friday against the Edmonton Oilers, Detroit felt that a new series opener against the Panthers would produce better results. Their division rivals got the best of the New York Islanders two nights ago with a victory at home before going on the road. They won two of three against the Red Wings and wanted nothing more than to continue that.
The Panthers put one in net in the first 30 seconds of the game by Reilly Smith who took the shot from behind the dot. There was contact between Jonathan Huberdeau and Detroit netminder Petr Mrazek around the time that the puck went into the net. It was checked my NHL officials and decided that the goaltending interference negated the goal.
Florida coach Gerard Gallant decided to use his coach’s challenge on the play in order to get it overturned. After a second look at the video and a decision from the league, the call stood in favor of Detroit to keep the game scoreless. That didn’t stop them from shooting numerous pucks on net to get a legitimate goal behind Mrazek. They were unsuccessful in their opportunity when play went to 4 on 4 on matching penalties.
Detroit earned their first chance on the power play got their offense rolling after allowing an early start to Florida. They couldn’t covert a goal against Panthers netminder Roberto Luongo midway into the first as the veteran goaltender made big stops on the Detroit rush.
The Red Wings caught up with Florida on shots to the net as they used the remaining minutes of the period wisely to compete against them. By the time the horn sounded, Detroit had taken the lead shooting ten while Florida took two shots in the last ten minutes of play. With the leverage in the hands of the Red Wings, a chance for them to dictate the second was possible.
Detroit stumbled by giving Florida a power play in the first 27 seconds where they produced a shot on goal but getting nothing on the net. Even after the PK, the Panthers maintained a strong attack in the Red Wings zone putting them on a scramble.
They saved themselves from any cheap goals before trying to restart their offense. After eight minutes of play a chance came for the Red Wings on a beautiful steal inside the Panthers zone. The transition was caught by Dylan Larkin who went all alone on Luongo scoring a shot under the blocker scoring his tenth.
Although it helped the take the point on the scoreboard, a penalty caused them to give Florida more time on possession. Detroit’s PK unit made sure they would get little opportunity at the net helping out the Red Wings as a whole. They pulled out five shots in the period but still watched the Panthers outshoot them with 13 shots to the net of Mrazek.
The third period was a rough outing as the final minutes of the second brewed hate between the teams. The Panthers took the brunt end of the bad news as they handed Detroit back to back penalties that jump started the offense on Luongo putting him under pressure. Though they managed to launch some great attacks, their attempts to increase the score were shutout by the Florida PK who made solid back-to-back kills.
Florida gained plenty of energy after their powerful run while shorthanded that the knowledge of time falling off the clock gave them a chance to tie. With 5:22 left, they made it happen with a drive from Campbell that flew towards center where Smith was again near Mrazek but careful not to get called for interference. After a brief run in with him, the brother of Detroit defenseman Brendan Smith took credit for the goal as the puck tipped off his stick out front giving him his sixth of the season.
It would stand out as the last goal during regulation sending the Red Wings to another overtime situation. Unlike their victory over Edmonton, they wouldn’t be as lucky to do it again. Florida made them pay dearly just 1:20 into the period where Campbell went in for a snap shot scoring the game winner.
The fall to Florida was one that Detroit couldn’t afford to lose as they have lost the lead in six of their last seven games. “It’s not good,” said captain Henrik Zetterberg of losing another game by a goal. “Overall today it’s an ugly game. I think the puck was around the boards a lot of the time a lot of special teams, a lot of penalties and couldn’t get the flow going.”
While they sit in third in the Atlantic Division, gaining one point in overtime wouldn’t be enough to stay there as the Bruins sit just a point behind in fourth. An opportunity to gain back the ground lost in their divisions comes Tuesday when they face the Buffalo Sabres for a second meeting of their series.