Detroit Red Wings: 15-9-7 (37 pts) At Florida Panthers: 9-17-5 (23 pts)
The Florida Panthers return home tonight to take on the Detroit Red Wings at 7:30 p.m. ET. These two teams met just three days ago on Saturday in Detroit where the Panthers defeated Detroit 2-1.
In their victory on Saturday the Panthers outshot the Red Wings 37-23 and received goals from Jimmy Hayes and Jonathan Huberdeau. The Panthers benefited from catching the Wings on the second game of a back-to-back set Saturday, but they will be much fresher tonight having had the last two days off.
After their win over Detroit on Saturday the Panthers jumped right over to Chicago where they were promptly disassembled by the Blackhawks in a 6-2 loss. Scott Clemmensen got his first start in over a month and allowed six goals on 32 shots en route to the loss.
Tonight will be the second of five match ups for these newly minted Atlantic Division rivals. The Red Wings are thriving in their first season since moving from the Western Conference to the East as a part of the NHL’s offseason realignment. With 37 points, the Red Wings are currently third in the Atlantic Division good enough for a playoff spot if the season ended today.
Former Panther Stephen Weiss will be making his first trip back to the BB&T Center since he signed a five-year $24.5 million deal with the Red Wings as a free agent during the offseason. In 25 games this season, Weiss has struggled to live up to the big contract tallying only four points (2 goals, 2 assists).
The Wings will be without to scorer Henrik Zetterberg (back), who has accumulated 30 points (11G, 19A) in 28 games this season, but they should get Pavel Datsyuk (12-11-23) back tonight. Datsyuk has missed the last seven games with a concussion. The Wings are backstopped by Jimmy Howard (.909 Sv%, 2.70 GAA), one of the six goalies on the shortlist to represent the US at the Sochi Olympics in February; as is Panthers net minder Tim Thomas. The two are set for an epic matchup tonight as the Wings try to avenge their Saturday night loss.
Here is the lineup I think the Panthers will go with tonight vs. Detroit: