After a lifeless loss to the Sabres on Saturday, the Panthers came out with some oomph in Detroit on Sunday against the Red Wings, leading them to a 5-2 bounce-back victory.
The Panthers came out firing on all cylinders in the 1st period, and considering they hadn’t scoring in any of the roughly 80 minutes of hockey they played prior to that, they had a good reason. An early power play allowed Vincent Trocheck to set up Colton Sceviour for the first goal of the game, a pinpoint redirection in front.
Twenty-three seconds later, Sceviour struck again at even strength as he descended upon the slot and put a rebound past Petr Mrazek while surrounded by four Red Wings forwards.
Jonathan Marchessault added his 6th goal of the season, which ties him for the league lead, on a 2-on-1 feed from Denis Malgin. The 19-year old received the puck on a chip up the ice from Kyle Rau who earned his first career NHL point on the play.
Vincent Trocheck scored his 4th goal of the season off the rush and Colton Sceviour completed the hat-trick with a shorthanded goal and 4th point of the night with under 4 minutes left in the period. The hat-trick is the Panthers’ first since February 26, 2013 when Tomas Kopecky scored twice and added an empty-netter against Pittsburgh, and it’s the first since Nathan Horton on December 14, 2009 to finish it without an empty-net goal. The 3-goal performance is also the first of Sceviour’s NHL career and it gives him 5 goals in 9 games played, whereas last season, he had 11 in 71 games with the Stars.
James Reimer made 34 saves on 36 shots to lead the Panthers to not only their first road win of the season, but also his first victory in a Panthers uniform. He stopped everything he faced at even strength as both of the Red Wings’ goals came on the power play.
Overall, the Panthers played a much better game than they did against Toronto and Buffalo. They got off to a strong start and that pretty much carried them through to the end. The 1st period was by far their best of the game – and maybe even the season – as they trailed off a bit in the following 2 periods and began giving up some opportunities.
There were fewer defensive breakdowns and there was more offensive creativity, especially from the 2nd line of Sceviour, Trocheck, and Smith and the 3rd line of McCann, Malgin, and Rau. Malgin was very impressive and set up several chances including a one-timer for Kyle Rau after breaking through a check along the wall and sending a pass from one knee. It was very encouraging to see the Panthers get back to basics, push the pace of play, and not really sit back for too long and allow the opponent to come at them in waves.
The Panthers will face the Bruins at home on Tuesday and they’re coming off a win over the Red Wings as well after defeating them 1-0 on Saturday. Tuukka Rask returned to the net and shutout Detroit with the help of a goal from Tim Schaller and a shot total of 36. This will be the first time the two teams meet this season and they’ll do so with each having 4 wins and 4 regulation losses.