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Panthers on late-season roll, have Red Wings in sights

Sportsnaut
Apr 15, 2022; Sunrise, Florida, USA;  Florida Panthers left wing Jonathan Huberdeau (11) crosses the blue line during the second period against the Winnipeg Jets at FLA Live Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Panthers will look to extend their winning streak to 10 games against an opponent that failed to score a goal on Saturday.

The Panthers, who have lost only once in their last 13 outings, will visit Detroit on Sunday afternoon. The Red Wings will be playing the second game of a back-to-back. They were blanked 4-0 in New York by the Rangers on Saturday afternoon.

Florida (53-15-6, 112 points) rolled to a 6-1 home victory over Winnipeg on Friday. Jonathan Huberdeau carries a career-long point streak to 13 games into Sunday’s game after scoring the first two goals against the Jets.

“He does everything out there,” Panthers forward Sam Reinhart said. “He’s even creating out there on the penalty kill. He’s so good at both ends of the ice, so that allows him to showcase his skills on a nightly basis. I’ve just been impressed with the overall consistency that he has.”

Gustav Forsling also had a two-goal game on Friday. He has scored six goals in the last eight games.

“It’s fun to see him score,” interim coach Andrew Brunette said. “Hopefully, he keeps going because he really has a great ability to put himself in wonderful positions to score goals.”

Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves and set a franchise record with his 36th win this season.

“I thought he was rock solid,” Brunette said. “He was dialed in and played exceptionally well (Friday). He’s had a great season. I know the last little bit he’d probably like to have a few of those games back, but his work, as a whole, has been pretty impressive.”

The Atlantic Division leaders have been impressive all season. The Panthers began the season with eight consecutive victories and seem intent on finishing the campaign even stronger. They have already set franchise records for regular-season wins and points.

In the last three victories, they have allowed only four goals.

“I thought we’ve tightened some things up here the last week or so,” Brunette said. “I think that’s a sign that we can try to keep building on to get our complete both-sides-of-the-puck game as high as we possibly can before the playoffs start.”

Detroit (29-36-10, 68 points) was outshot 37-20 by the Rangers while losing for the third time in four games. The Wings were only down 1-0 after the first period due to the efforts of goaltender Thomas Greiss. Once the Rangers scored early in the second period, the Wings failed to create scoring opportunities to climb back.

“If you keep it at 1-0 longer, you’re in the hockey game,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “I just thought we got impatient, turned pucks over, next thing you know, they’re in our net.”

Team captain Dylan Larkin was also disappointed by the team’s puck handling and decision-making.

“We’re a young team, we go back for pucks and we throw them away a lot of times,” Larkin said. “We have to work on communicating and talking our way out of problems.”

Detroit’s Alex Nedeljkovic will be the starting goaltender on Sunday. Nedeljkovic recorded a 46-save shutout against Carolina on Thursday.

Florida has won the first two matchups against Detroit this season. The teams will finish the four-game season series at Florida on Thursday.

–Field Level Media