The Detroit Red Wings found themselves in 3-on-3 overtime for the fourth consecutive night and sixth in the past seven games. They came into Sunday’s matinee matchup 5-3 in overtime, without having played a shootout.
The game began with an apparent goal for Florida, just 28 seconds in. Jonathan Huberdeau slid into Detroit netminder Petr Mrazek and Reilly Smith (brother of Detroit’s Brendan Smith, who was scratched Sunday, with Jakub Kindl in his place) quickly lifted the puck into the net.
The goal was reviewed by officials and it was determined that there was no goal on the play due to goalie inteference. Panthers coach Gerard Gallant would then challenge the ruling, arguing that Huberdeau was tripped, causing him to slide into Mrazek. It would be a brief coach’s challenge, and the call would stand.
Detroit had their opponents on their heels in the latter half of the first, and they would finish the first third with a 10-9 edge in shots, with scoring chances even at three apiece, signifying the evenness of the period. Florida goalie Roberto Luongo was impressive late as he had to make numerous saves of the difficult variety.
“Yeah I didn’t think we were good enough tonight,” said coach Jeff Blashill. “I think we can play much better than we played. I thought the second half of the first period was the bit where we played the best. We had a lot of zone time during stretch, but it seemed like we just didn’t have enough energy. We didn’t win enough puck races, didn’t win enough puck battles.”
Dylan Larkin scored near the midway point of the second period. As the Panthers attempted to break out of their own end. Larkin intercepted the pass and had an open shot without pressure from the defense. This would be his tenth notch of the season. He continues to lead the team in goals and is now second in points with 18.
There would be a large amount of penalties in the middle frame. A total of eight minor penalties were called. Mike Green and Darren Helm took penalties 33 seconds apart, giving Florida a 1:27 5-on-3. But the PK teams were up to the task. The majority of the shots were blocked and the few that made it to Mrazek were turned aside.
After failing to extend the 1-0 lead on two back-to-back power plays, the Panthers would tie the game. Aaron Ekblad took a shot from the point that was deflected past Mrazek by Smith. This goal would stand.
Jussi Jokinen, who had the secondary assist on the previous goal, passed to his Jonathan Huberdeau who then dropped a pass to defenseman Brian Campbell. Campbell was not covered in the slot because the Wings were in the midst of substituting Pavel Datsyuk in for Justin Abdelkaer. Abdelkader could not reach Campbell in time, allowing the veteran blueliner to wrist the game-winner past Mrazek.
Detroit moves to 5-4 in 3-on-3, but did manage to grab a point, moving to within one from second place Ottawa and one greater than fourth place Boston.
The home stand continues with the second of four games this week when the Buffalo Sabres visit Detroit on Tuesday (7:30).