Florida Panthers @ Detroit Red Wings


Matchup: Florida Panthers (11-8-7) @ Detroit Red Wings (17-6-6)

Where: Joe Louis Arena

When: 7:30 PM ET

TV/Radio: FS-F / 560 WQAM

 What’s The Story?

After the Florida Panthers dropped a 4-2 decision in St. Louis, the team will continue it’s three-game road trip as they head to Detroit for the second time in the past week to face the Detroit Red Wings, who are coming off a 2-1 shootout loss at home vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Panthers hope to beat the Red Wings for the second time this weekend, as the Cats are currently two points behind Boston and four points behind Toronto for the final two wild-card playoff positions.

In Case You Missed It

On Monday, the Panthers took on St. Louis in a game that many thought would become a one sided game in favor of the Blues. The Panthers came out looking sluggish during the first period and let the Blues capitalize on their mistakes, with St. Louis scoring two goals in the first period to lead the Panthers 2-0 after one period.

When the puck was dropped for the second period, the furious Panthers came out firing on all cylinders, outshooting the Blues 26-17 over the final two periods.  The Blues would then score the game-winning goal with 1:54 remaining in the third period to steal two points from the Panthers, who dominated St. Louis over the final forty minutes.

Projected Rosters

Florida Panthers

Jonathan Huberdeau – Nick Bjustad – Tomas Fleischmann

Sean Bergenheim – Dave Bolland – Brad Boyes

Jussi Jokinen – Vincent Trocheck – Jimmy Hayes

Tomas Kopecky – Derek MacKenzie – Brandon Pirri

Brian Campbell – Aaron Ekblad

Willie Mitchell – Dmitry Kulikov

Dylan Olsen – Erik Gudbranson

Roberto Luongo

Al Montoya

Detroit Red Wings

Gustav Nyquist – Henrik Zetterberg – Tomas Jurco

Tomas Tatar – Pavel Datsyuk – Darren Helm

Johan Franzen – Riley Sheahan – Stephen Weiss

Drew Miller – Luke Glendening – Joakim Andersson

Jonathan Ericsson – Niklas Kronwall

Kyle Quincey – Xavier Ouellet

Brendan Smith – Jakub Kindl

Jimmy Howard

Petr Mrazek

Cats Facts

While Detroit has lead the all time series against the Panthers (16-4-5-4), the Panthers have owned the Red Wings as of late, winning four of their last six contests against Detroit.

The Panthers might have a last second lineup change, as Aaron Ekblad sat out of Thursday’s practice with soreness. As a precaution, the team has recalled Shane O’Brian from the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage in case Ekblad is not ready to go.

Don’t touch Nick Bjustad right now, because the sophomore forward has been hot as of late. After cooling off for a couple of games, the Panthers top-line center has six points (4 goals, 2 assists) in his past three games while going +3. He leads the Panthers with 12 goals. Look for the former Golden Gopher to make an impact in this game as well.

The NHL’s third star of the week and one of the NHL’s youngest players, Aaron Ekblad is tied for the team’s scoring lead with 18 points. The 18 year-old defenseman is riding a five game point-streak, scoring seven points (3 goals, 4 assists) over that time. If Bjustad is hot, then that must mean that Ekblad is red hot.

Has Tomas Fleischmann finally found his game? After finding his way onto the top-line, the two-time leading scorer of the Panthers has scored four points (1 goal, 3 assists) in his last three games. While his defensive game has never been questioned, the Panthers desperately need “Flash” to keep improving his offensive game.

Notable Mentions: Jussi Jokinen (3 assists in past 4 GP), Jonathan Huberdeau (3 assists in past 4 GP), and Brad Boyes (1 goal, 2 assists in past 5 GP).

Three Players To Watch Out For

Pavel Datsyuk – Three goals, five assists in his past five games.

Stephen Weiss – One goal, four assists in his past five games.

Tomas Tatar – 3 goals, 3 assists in his past five games.

Final Analysis

If the Panthers wish to win their second game of the season versus Detroit, the team will need to pepper the Red Wings with shots as soon as the puck drops. The team has come out of the dressing room flat in their past two games, and getting shots on goal in the opening minutes can easily set a tone for the rest of the game.

Game Prediction

3-1 Florida

Got any game predictions? Let us know in the comments below as your input is greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading.