Matchup: Florida Panthers vs. Detroit Red Wings
Venue: Joe Louis Arena; Detroit, MI
Time: 5:00 PM EST
Television: Detroit- FS-Detroit+; Florida- FS-Florida
The Detroit Red Wings (23-18-10, 56 points, 5th place Atlantic Division) won consecutive home games for the first time in three months after a 4-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens Friday night. The Red Wings are currently 3-1-0 on this five game home stand, where it seems they have finally started to play better hockey as of late. The offense has woken up the past couple of games as well after they scored five goals against Chicago and then four more against Montreal. The offense will get another lift when Johan Franzen returns Sunday evening as the Red Wings continue to get healthier.
The Florida Panthers (20-24-7, 47 points, 7th place Atlantic Division) may not be having the best season to this date, but they have still been able to defeat the Red Wings twice so far this season. They have lost four of their past seven games overall and have failed to score more than two goals in each of the four losses. The Panthers have been somewhat more consistent of late than in the beginning of the season, but seem to have fallen back to the losing ways. The Panthers have handily beat the Red Wings in their two meetings this season, so it will be key for the Red Wings to get out to the early lead in order to not try and play catch up for the entire game.
The Red Wings will be starting Jonas Gustavsson for the third consecutive game while they await the return of starter Jimmy Howard. Gustavsson has earned the victory in the past two games while he continues to be a solid backup option to Howard.
The Panthers are expected to turn to Tim Thomas for Sunday evening’s game. Thomas has had some struggles of late as he has given up at least three goals in four consecutive starts. The Red Wings have clicked offensively the past couple of games so if Thomas is not on top of his game, he could be in for a long evening.