Thomas Greiss stopped 36 shots, and Givani Smith had one goal and one assist as the visiting Detroit Red Wings broke an eight-game winless streak with a 4-1 win over the Florida Panthers on Sunday afternoon in Sunrise, Fla.
The Panthers, who got a goal from Alex Wennberg, had their season-opening points streak stopped at eight games (6-0-2). It was Florida’s first loss in regulation since Aug. 7, 2020.
Marc Staal, Robby Fabbri and Vladislav Namestnikov also scored for the Red Wings, who had not won a game since Jan. 19. Since then, they went 0-6-2 before Sunday’s breakthrough.
Greiss, who had been 0-7-2 this season entering Sunday, won his first regular-season game since Feb. 10, 2020, nearly one full year ago.
Smith, a 22-year-old forward, had just two goals and three assists in 26 career games entering Sunday. He also fought Aaron Ekblad with 7:22 left in the third, giving Smith the so-called Gordie Howe hat trick.
Panthers backup goalie Chris Driedger, getting consecutive starts for the first time this season, made 34 saves but lost in regulation for the first time this season (3-1-1).
Detroit opened the scoring with 2:58 gone in the second period. Sam Gagner fired from the high slot, just inside the blue line. The puck never got to Driedger, getting blocked instead. But, fortunately for Detroit, Staal tracked the puck well and cleaned up the rebound.
The Red Wings went up 2-0 with 17:02 expired in the second. After a Keith Yandle turnover deep in Florida’s end, Detroit’s Bobby Ryan corralled the puck and made a quick centering pass to Smith.
Florida cut its deficit to 2-1 with 17:51 left in the third. Wennberg’s deflection of an Anton Stralman shot finally beat Greiss, who had no chance.
But with 10:49 left in the third, after Smith’s shot was stopped, Fabbri pounced on the rebound for a 3-1 lead.
There were no power plays in the game until the Panthers finally got one with 6:13 left in the third as Gagner was caught holding Aleksander Barkov.
The Panthers, though, could not convert. They then pulled Driedger with about three minutes remaining, and that resulted in Namestnikov’s empty-net goal with 2:42 left.
–Field Level Media