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Detroit’s Shootout Struggles Continue

Detroit lost their second straight home game to a shootout on Friday night. After a tough loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday in a game dominated by the Red Wings, they had a chance to redeem themselves against the Florida Panthers, whom had defeated Detroit at home earlier this month.

“They’re a good team,” said Jimmy Howard. “They’re tenacious on the puck in the offensive zone. You got to make them play in their own end. They’re extremely well-coached and they’re playing extremely well right now.”

Riley Sheahan led off the scoring on an early first period power play, assisted by Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Tatar. It was Sheahan’s seventh goal of the season.

Florida’s Tomas Fleischmann tied the game two minutes later, and Jonathan Huberdeau would give the Panthers a 2-1 lead after a scramble near the crease

When it looked as if the Red Wings would end the first period down a goal, Gustav Nyquist had other ideas. While being shoved by Fleischmann near goalie Roberto Luongo, Nyquist was able to get a shot off while falling to the ice. The backhander made it past Luongo with one second remaining on the penalty to Brandon Pirri.

Nyquist joined Evgeni Malkin, Joe Pavelski, and Brock Nelson for the league lead in power play goals with his eighth of the season.

That was it for the scoring.

In the third period Detroit defenseman Jakub Kindl would be called for two minor penalties: one for interference, the second for high-sticking. This would give Florida a four-minute power play. The Red Wings were able to successfully kill off the extended power play with the help of Drew Miller and Luke Glendening.

“Once again the [PK] did a tremendous job,” said Howard. “I’ve been saying all along since the beginning of the season it’s been the most consistent part of our game this year is that penalty kill.”

After overtime failed to break the stalemate, the shootout commenced. Neither Datsyuk nor Nyquist were able to put the puck past Luongo, with the latter failing to get a shot off after the puck roll off the blade of his stick. Florida converted on both of their shots, the first by Vincent Trocheck, and the second by Pirri.

Vincent Trocheck scores a shootout goal on Jimmy Howard in a Red Wings loss on December 12, 2014. Howard nearly stopped the shot, but Trocheck found a small opening between Howard's skate and the left post. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
Vincent Trocheck scores a shootout goal on Jimmy Howard in a Red Wings loss on December 12, 2014. Howard nearly stopped the shot, but Trocheck found a small opening between Howard’s skate and the left post. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

For Howard, it marked his fifth loss in the shootout this season. For the Red Wings, they are 1-5, as Petr Mrazek recorded the lone victory.

“It’s frustrating. It’s really, expletive frustrating,” said Howard (and yes he said the word expletive). “We keep having meeting after meeting after meeting about it. We work hard on it in practice. We’re just going to have to stick with it.”

You could feel the utter frustration in his voice.

“I don’t think I bit on either one of their moves, stayed with them, and somehow it still went in.”

The Red Wings can bounce back tonight in Toronto at 7:00 ET.

Follow me on Twitter @yungspork

Kevin Sporka

Kevin Sporka

Kevin Sporka is the Senior Media Analyst and Detroit Red Wings beat writer at HOHM. He is also the author of the Fantasy Hockey Fridays, In Retrospect, Milestone Monday, and Legends By the Number segments.
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