Let’s go ahead and keep forward Givani Smith in the lineup, shall we?
The gritty forward earned his first career Gordie Howe hat trick, scoring a goal, registering an assist, and demolishing an opponent in a fight. In doing so, he helped the Red Wings earn their first win in nine games, breaking an eight-game skid with a 4-1 victory over the Florida Panthers.
It was Florida’s first loss in regulation this season.
Marc Staal got the fun going by scoring his first of the season, backhanding the loose puck past Panthers goaltender Chris Driedger for the game’s opening goal. Smith would then bury a feed from Bobby Ryan past Dreidger late in the second period to extend Detroit’s lead.
Despite surrendering an early goal to Florida in the 3rd, Smith wasn’t finished. His shot on net was partially blocked, setting the stage for Robby Fabbri to score his first of the year to give Detorit back their two goal lead.
Smith would then drop the gloves against defenseman Aaron Ekblad and soon earn the knock out blow, giving him the iconic milestone named for the former Red Wings Hall of Famer.
Vladislav Namestnikov would add an empty net goal late in the 3rd to seal the win.
Thomas Greiss earned his first win as a Red Wing, stopping 36 shots. Dreidger countered with 33 saves of his own in a losing effort.
Detroit will once again take on the Panthers in the 4th game of their six-game road swing on Tuesday.