Panthers Beat Red Wings; Keep Slim Playoff Hopes Alive


The Florida Panthers started the night seven points behind the Boston Bruins for the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference with twelve games to go. Things did not look very positive for the team making the postseason after two straight losses to the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens where they outplayed the opposition in both games.

However, on Thursday night, they faced the Detroit Red Wings, whom they had beat in two of the three meetings this season. This was also goaltender Roberto Luongo first game back as he had missed the last six games due to injury.

Florida Panthers
Florida Panthers /

Florida Panthers

The two teams that that stand in their way were playing one another on Thursday night as well as the Bruins were in Ottawa to face the Senators. The Senators were three points ahead of the Panthers and had played one less game. The best scenario for Florida from that game would be a Senators win over the Bruins in regulation and of course a win over the Red Wings.

The 1st Period for the Panthers seemed to go similarly to their last two games as they outshot the Red Wings 14-8, but could not get a puck past Detroit goaltender Petr Mrazek. The Panthers also failed to score on the one power play that they had.

The 2nd Period started off similarly to the 1st until the ageless wonder forward Jaromir Jagr ripped a shot into the net with 9:05 left in the period for his 13th goal of the season with assists from forwards Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov. Forward Brandon Pirri gave the Panthers an insurance goal with his 17th goal of the season off of a rebound with 5:18 left in the 2nd Period with assists from Jaromir Jagr and defenseman Aaron Ekblad. The boiling hot Pirri has scored a goal in each of his last four games. Both teams went 0 for 1 in that period on the power play and the Red Wings outshot the Panthers 12-10.

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Moving onto the 3rd Period, with 13:10 left, Panthers forward Scottie Upshall wristed a shot top shelf into the Red Wings net for his 8th goal of the season to give the Panthers a 3-0 lead with 13:10 left. However, Red Wings forward Erik Cole wouldn’t allow Luongo to earn the shutout with his 20th goal of the season with 9:53 left in the 3rd Period to make it 3-1 Panthers. Both teams once again went 0 for 1 on their respective power plays and the Panthers outshot the Red Wings 8-7.

That would be all that she wrote with the Panthers picking up a must needed 3-1 win and beat the Red Wings in the season series with three victories out of four. The Senators also beat the Bruins 6-4.

That put the Panthers five points behind the Bruins for the last Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference and are three points behind the Senators. However, as noted earlier, Ottawa has a game in hand on both the Panthers and Bruins. The Panthers and Bruins faceoff for the first of three remaining games this season on Saturday night from Sunrise. The Panthers will also play the Senators one more time this season on March 29th in Ottawa.

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