Five Takeaways from Panthers win over Red Wings

SUNRISE – After a long Western Canada/Seattle road trip, the Florida Panthers were back home Thursday night at FLA Live arena.


In their first game at home since Nov. 26, the Panthers faced off against the Detroit Red Wings, a team who sat above them in the standings entering tonight’s game. 


After a 5-2 loss to Winnipeg last time out, the Panthers bounced back tonight with a 5-1 win over the Wings at home.


Here’s tonight’s takeaways:

The captain is back 

Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov missed the entire road trip as he was recuperating from a non-COVID illness. 


Tonight he was back on the ice for the first game since Nov. 23 against the Boston Bruins.


The return came at a good time as his fellow countryman and center Anton Lundell is still out of the Cats lineup with a non-COVID illness.


Lundell was running Barkov’s spot on the top power play unit when the captain was out. Barkov jumped back into his center role tonight. 


Tonight wasn’t a dominating game by Barkov and that makes sense after he’s been out so long. And with recent reports that came out saying Barkov had a bout with pneumonia , it was a good sign to see him play upwards of 16 minutes and get an assist on the scoresheet. 


Shorthanded Panthers get contributions from AHL call ups 

The return of Barkov was a huge win for the Panthers team as they were without his services for the last six games. 


Despite their captain making his way back into the lineup, the Cats were still shorthanded with both Anton Lundell and Radko Gudas missing tonight’s games, while Patric Hornqvist is on LTIR. 


Florida had to look towards a few of their minor league guys tonight to fill the void and they were pretty effective. 


Chris Tierney, who was playing in his second NHL game of the season tonight, opened the scoring with his first goal of the year towards the end of the first period.


In the next frame, another AHL call up Matt Kiersted found himself with his first goal of the season after the 24-year-old defenseman jumped up in the play, putting a loose puck past Red Wings goalie Alex Nedeljkovic.


Last game against Winnipeg, Zac Dalpe scored in his first game of the year after being called up from the AHL affiliate Charlotte Checkers

No power play luck tonight, but really no problem

In a game where nearly everything went right for the Cats, the one area that wasn’t prosperous was the powerplay. 


Florida went 0/3 on the man-advantage tonight; losing the special teams battle as Detroit went 1/4.


Other than striking out on the PP, the offense was effective and Mambo No. 5 was played tonight, so the Panthers will be ok with this small area of defeat.


Matthew Tkachuk cannot be stopped

Another game, another Matthew Tkachuk show. 


Tonight against Detroit, Tkachuk had scored a great goal off the rush where he sold the pass, the shot and probably a lottery ticket before roofing it over Nedeljkovic. 


No. 19’s two point performance was his 13th multipoint game of the season. The 24-year-old has 37 points in 25 games this season, this is the most among players on new teams in 2022-2023.


This season when the Panthers were going through rough spells, he was one of the few bright spots on the team. Of course when they put on a dominant outing like tonight, it’s a cherry on top. 


Bob didn’t see much, but he kept the door closed

The last few weeks has seen Spencer Knight command the Panthers net for the majority of the games. 


Knight was out of the lineup tonight with an illness, so Sergei Bobrovsky got the crease.


It hasn’t been the best year for Bob, with him posting a 4-6-1 record, a 3.72 GAA and a save percentage of .880% before tonight’s game.


Florida’s defense had a solid showing tonight, only allowing Detroit to get 20 shots on goal. And for Bob, he only gave up one goal, which would come off a Red Wings power play. 


There’s no telling how long Spencer Knight might miss due to his non-COVID illness, so until he is cleared, it will be Bob’s net. 

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