Panthers fall to Red Wings in shootout thriller

Evgenii Dadonov scored his team-leading fifth goal of the season and recorded one assist, but the Panthers fell to the Red Wings in a shootout on Saturday night to earn just one point in the second game of a five-game homestand. 

The Red Wings entered the night on a six-game losing streak while the Panthers exploded offensively to defeat the Anaheim Ducks 8-3 on Thursday.

A minor shuffling of the Panthers’ bottom-6 was in order after Connor Brickley suffered what appeared to be a knee injury in that game, forcing the recall of forward Chase Balisy, who made his NHL debut on against Detroit.

The 25-year old California-native skated on the third line with Derek MacKenzie and Nick Bjugstad, while Denis Malgin centered Micheal Haley and rookie Owen Tippett.

Balisy logged 10:47 of ice time in the game, including 1:01 while shorthanded, and two shots on goal.

Malgin went on to take just 4 shifts on the night, including none in the 3rd period. He took a puck to the head in the opening frame which kept him out of the game until late in the period, took just three shifts in the 2nd period and sat on the bench the rest of the night.

Regardless, the Panthers managed to generate offensive at a decent clip, although they didn’t get the first goal of the game like they had in each of their last five.

After a turnover by the Panthers in the defensive zone corner, Andreas Athanasiou netted his first goal of the season on a one-timer from the slot.

Jonathan Huberdeau deflected an Evgenii Dadonov point shot past goaltender Jimmy Howard to get the Panthers on the board 4:19 into the 2nd period.

Under three minutes later, Dadonov raced into the offensive zone and behind the net before sending the puck to the top of the crease. Huberdeau recovered it and banked a shot off the leg of a defender and into the net, but the Red Wings challenged the play for goaltender interference, and the goal was disallowed.

Dadonov eventually gave the Panthers the lead with a power play tally as he redirected a Vincent Trocheck pass top-shelf on Howard at 8:23 of the 2nd period.

The goal gave Dadonov his third two-point night in the last four games as he and the rest of the top line really clicked for the Panthers once again.

Dadonov registered seven shots on goal and 11 attempted shots in the game.

“He had a lot of energy, great legs,” said head coach Bob Boughner of Dadonov. “That whole line, I thought, was great. Down low they had a lot of pressure.”

It didn’t take long for Detroit to tie the game at 2 as Gustav Nquist split the Panthers’ defense, recovered a rebound after Aaron Ekblad swatted the puck onto James Reimer, and then scored upstairs.

Following a back-and-forth overtime period – the first of the season for the Panthers – Nyquist scored the lone goal in the shootout on a low wrist shot to snap the Red Wings’ slide.

James Reimer finished with 36 saves on 38 shots, including several which kept the Panthers in the game.

The same can be said for Jimmy Howard, who robbed many point-blank chances that could’ve easily been goals. Dadonov specifically had a number of close calls, including a one-timer on a feed from Barkov in the 3rd that would’ve given the Panthers a late lead.

“I think we played overall pretty good,” said Barkov, who had a blistering wrist shot gloved by Howard in the 2nd period. “We had a good defensive game, we had a good offensive game, we had a lot of shots. You gotta give credit to their goalie, he was awesome today and he won the game for them.”

The Panthers have had a tough time getting on a roll in terms of adding to the win column; Saturday’s shootout loss really throws a wrench into those plans.

The effort and chances were there to win the game in regulation, and although they did score a power play goal, the opportunity was there for the taking on their other five chances with the man-advantage.

A successful 5-on-3 penalty kill gave the Panthers some jump and allowed them to dominate the Red Wings in the first period, but solving Howard wasn’t easy despite paying the price around the net.

“I liked our game, I really did,” said Boughner. “I can’t say too many negative things about it. We played hard, we created chances, we won the special teams. One of those back-and-forth games.”

“My message to the team after was keep our heads up, keep positive, if we play like this we’re gonna win a lot more games than we’re gonna lose.”

The Panthers’ homestand continues on Monday as they take on the Lightning for the third time this season. They’re still the only team to beat Tampa in regulation, and that came in the last meeting at home on October 7th.

Game notes:

  • Mackenzie Weegar, Colton Sceviour (upper body) and Connor Brickley (lower body) were scratched from the lineup.
  • Aleksander Barkov led the Panthers’ forwards in ice time at 25:51 while Keith Yandle led the entire team at 26:06.
  • Jonathan Huberdeau extended his point streak to six games, during which he has a goal and five assists.
  • Alex Petrovic logged 9:12 of ice time and was on the bench but did not take a shift in the 3rd period.

(Click above for a visual recap of the game.)

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