Red Wings' offense sputters in 4-1 loss at Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla. -- A strong outing from Petr Mrazek couldn't save the Detroit Red Wings.

They dropped to 0-2 for the season after losing, 4-1, to the Florida Panthers tonight at BB&T Center. Where the season opener saw the Wings score only to be undone by penalties, tonight’s effort saw the Wings struggle to generate offense. After two periods, shots were 28-13 to Florida. The Panthers scored twice in the last 3 minutes, including an empty-net goal from Jonathan Marchessault, and finished with 38 shots to 22 by Detroit.

The Wings trailed a minute into the game after Vincent Trocheck’s wrap-around attempt saw the puck deflect in off Dylan Larkin. A power play yielded nothing, and after 8 minutes, Roberto Luongo had only had to make one save. Two minutes later, the Panthers built a 2-0 lead when Colton Sceviour scored off a rush. It was the Wings’ most consistent line that struck back, with Gustav Nyquist going behind the net to send the puck out to Darren Helm for a goal at 13:03.

Mrazek made a diving stop on a Keith Yandle slap shot among 15 saves in the first period, while the Wings reached nine shots.

The good finish to the first period didn’t translate into the second period, as another anemic offensive effort left Luongo to daydream. One of the few chances came when Thomas Vanek sent the puck into the paint, but no teammate was there to finish.

The Wings penalty killers held off Florida when Alexey Marchenko went to the box, and Mrazek held off a second attempt from Trocheck when he tried to stuff a backhand. Mrazek made another stop on Trocheck when the Panthers broke in behind Detroit’s defense late in the period. Luongo saw little work, making his 12th save of the game on an easy stop when Luke Glendening fired a clean shot from the left side. The Wings had just four shots in the second period, otherwise spending entirely too much time in their own zone.

Jonathan Ericsson went for crosschecking so late that the Panthers power play spilled over nearly the entire stretch into the start of the third period. Mrazek stopped Marchessault, and denied a backhand attempt by Aaron Ekblad.

The Wings pressed as the clock became the enemy, but the Panthers replied in kind, keeping Mrazek busy. Helm had a good shot denied  as his line continued to threaten. The Wings got a power play with about five minutes to play. Luongo stopped Mike Green on a slap shot, but otherwise the Wings had trouble setting up. Aleksander snuck in and scored when he was left uncovered, putting the game away with 2:22 to go in regulation. An empty-net goal followed at a minute later.


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