Things didn't go well to start for the Detroit Red Wings in their first game without Patrick Kane. Kane is sidelined for at least two games on this mini-road trip, the first being Wednesday night in Florida. Kane will also miss Friday's contest in Carolina before being reevaluated once the team returns home on the weekend ahead of their game Sunday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Since joining the Detroit Red Wings, Kane has been arguably the team's top offensive forward. He's creative and dangerous and has displayed elite vision. He's been excellent on zone entries, possessing the puck in the offensive zone, and has often demonstrated tremendous patience.
Speaking of zone entries...the first Florida goal on Wednesday night occurred following a Detroit turnover at the offensive zone while on the power play. Dylan Larkin was stripped of the puck trying to gain entry into the zone, and the play ended with Sam Reinhart scoring his 33rd goal of the season. It was an absolute snipe from the pending free agent. The Red Wings did a poor job defending the play party due to the fact they only use one defenseman on the power play, leaving a forward to try and defend, but that is no excuse for Lucas Raymond to be caught puck-watching. Check out the video below, although it begins just after the Larkin turnover.
The Detroit Red Wings continue to struggle in the defensive zone, although the stellar play of goaltender Alex Lyon masks a lot of their deficiencies. The Red Wings are getting tremendous play from the goaltending position these days, and it's something that had hampered this team earlier in the season. Florida's second goal, like the first, came after a Larkin turnover, this time in the defensive zone right in front of Lyon. First, Raymond turned it over, trying to get cute with a no-look backhand attempt in the slot, and immediately after, Larkin mishandled the rebound on an initial shot, which led to a goal from Gustav Forsling.
In between those two goals, Detroit received a goal from Michael Rasmussen, who was able to redirect home a point shot from Olli Maatta. Andrew Copp won the draw and received a secondary assist on that goal. Copp, who had scored in three straight games leading up to Wednesday's contest, has been quietly on a bit of a heater lately.
The Detroit Red Wings find their legs in the third period and stay hot to beat Florida 3-2 in overtime.
The Detroit Red Wings struggled to find any sustained pressure for most of the game, so much so that I felt head coach Derek Lalonde needed to replace David Perron on the top line and insert Alex DeBrincat with Larkin and Raymond. Immediately after expressing that, the Detroit Red Wings' third line of Andrew Copp, Michael Rasmussen, and Christian Fischer provided Detroit with an excellent offensive zone shift that ended with a Robby Fabbri goal. The Red Wings worked the cycle for a while, wearing down the Panthers, and a fresh Fabbri came on for Fischer and drove the lane toward the goal, received a wonderful backhanded feed from Rasmussen, and delivered the bread from the slot to tie the game. Maatta also received his second assist of the game on the goal.
This seems fitting. As Jeff Daniels' character, Harry Dunne comically says in the 1994 Dumb and Dumber to Jim Carry's character Lloyd Christmas after Llyod trades in their 'Mutts Cutts' van for a more fuel-efficient mini-bike after the duo traveling to Aspen Colorado on a tight budget fall on hard times "just when I think you couldn't possibly be any dumber, and you totally redeem yourself." I am not calling Larkin dumb by any means, but after a rough night, Detroit's captain redeemed himself by scoring the overtime winner. The Red Wings were on the power play, and Larkin drove home the game-winner from the slot.
Don't look now, but the Detroit Red Wings are 6-0-1 over their past seven games. Next up for Detroit is a date in Carolina on Friday night.