The Detroit Red Wings used two early third period goals to defeat the Florida Panther 4-3 last night at BB&T Center. The win was Detroit’s first over the Panthers this season after suffering losses in the team’s two previous affairs.
Sean Bergenheim (6,7) scored twice for the Panthers while Nick Bjusgtad (8) contributed a goal as well. The Red Wings received goals from Daniel Alfredsson, Henrik Zetterberg, Brendan Smith, and Gustav Nyquist. Zetterberg, the Wings’ captain, managed to get on the score sheet in his return from a back injury that has kept him out of the lineup since December 1. Scott Clemmensen got the start for the Panthers and he stopped 27 of 31 shots faced. Jonas Gustavsson picked up the win for Detroit stopping 30 of 33 shots along the way.
The Red Wings jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first period thanks to power play goals from Alfredsson and Zetterberg. The Panthers evened things up in the second with two goals of their own. Sean Bergenheim tallied on the power play at 12:52 into the period, converting a nice pass from Brian Campbell who did most of the heavy lifting on the play carrying the puck from end-to-end before dishing to Bergenheim. Nick Bjugstad scored another beauty (Bju-ty!!) at 14:59 into the second when he intercepted a Detroit pass in the Panthers’ defensive zone and raced the other way. He finished the play with a beautiful deke that left Jonas Gustavsson spinning in his crease.
The game swung in Detroit’s favor in the third when two goals in the first 80 seconds to stretch their lead to 4-2. The Panthers got the game within one when Bergenheim tallied his second of the night at 4:27 into the final stanza but that was as close as they would get as Gustavsson shut the door the rest of the way.
The loss was the Panthers third in a row since they had their five game winning streak snapped last Friday in Winnipeg. The Panthers are back in action tonight a 5:00 p.m. ET when the Montreal Canadiens come to town. For the Red Wings, the road to the Winter Classic is quickly coming to an end. Detroit is in Nashville on Monday taking on the Predators, their final tune-up before they take to the Big House to face the Maple Leafs on New Year’s Day.