Matchup: Florida Panthers vs. Detroit Red Wings
Venue: Joe Louis Arena; Detroit, MI
Time: 7:00 PM EST
Television: Detroit-FSD+; Florida-FS-Florida
The Detroit Red Wings (15-8-7, 37 points, 3rd place Atlantic Division) have been able to find a winning touch even with some of their best players on the shelf with injuries. The Red Wings are currently playing without forwards Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, and Darren Helm. They are also without a budding star in Danny DeKeyser on the blue line. Despite the injuries, the Red Wings have won five of their past six games to surge towards the top of the Atlantic Division. The Red Wings have been aided during this stretch by their secondary scoring that they missed for most of the first quarter of the season. Players such as Gustav Nyquist and Johan Franzen have stepped up to score some big goals for the team as they are missing their stars who accounted for 40% of the Red Wings offense in the first quarter of the season.
The Red Wings will still be without Pavel Datsyuk until Tuesday night as he recovers from a concussion and will still be missing Henrik Zetterberg and Darren Helm. The secondary scoring will have to continue to roll for a few more games for the Red Wings to stay in the chase of the top spot until Datsyuk returns.
The Florida Panthers (8-16-5, 21 points, 7th place Atlantic Division) come into tonight’s game losing five of their past seven games. They were not figured to be in the conversation for the playoff chase this year, so their standing does not come as a surprise currently. The big surprise is that Florida is still looking for their first win over an Atlantic Division opponent this season. They come into tonight’s game with a 0-6-1 record against the Atlantic Division with their closest thing to a win coming in a 4-3 shootout loss to Tampa Bay on October 27th.
The Red Wings will once again go with Jonas Gustavsson in net for the second straight night after he improved his record to 8-0-1 with the 3-1 victory over New Jersey Friday night. Gustavsson has pushed Howard for more playing time recently and has shown that he is capable of being a consistent starter for the Red Wings this season.
Florida will counter with Tim Thomas in net tonight. Tonight will be Thomas’ 14th straight start for Florida as he looks to win two straight games for the first time since mid November. Thomas is still capable of the strong play that made him a Stanley Cup champion in Boston so the Red Wings will need to find a way to keep getting pucks on net and look for the rebounds.