Sergei Bobrovsky and the physical Panthers outplay the Detroit Red Wings

After enjoying a six-game winning streak, the Detroit Red Wings have now lost two in a row.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Panthers took a 10-0-1 record over their past ten games against the Red Wings into Detroit on Saturday afternoon. With playoffs potentially on the horizon for the Detroit Red Wings, this game against the Atlantic Division-leading Panthers, who entered the game with a 13-2-0 record over their past 15 contests, seemed like the perfect test.

The Panthers play a very physical game, which adds another element to their highly skilled roster. They can drive you absolutely up the wall with their constant post-whistle scrums, but that's their DNA and the DNA of their head coach, Paul Maurice. Historically, Maurice's teams are so sound defensively, and similar to the group he had most recently in Winnipeg, this Panther team gets after it with the forecheck and can finish.

The resurgence of two-time Vezina trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky puts this Panther team over the top and is a big reason why Florida is where they are this season. Bobrovsky took a 2.35 goal-against average and stout .916 save percentage into Saturday afternoon's contest. He's 30-11-2 on the season. A quick comparison: we know how well Alex Lyon has played this season for Detroit; he's boasting a 2.74 goals against average paired with a .912 save percentage.

The Detroit Red Wings fall 4-0 to the Eastern Conference leading Florida Panthers.

Florida, as advertised, continued to play their physical brand of hockey, but the Detroit Red Wings didn't back down. Jake Walman dumped Matthew Tkachuk at center ice; Ben Chiarot found himself in the middle of the post-whistle scrums more times than not. David Perron and a feisty Alex DeBrincat also didn't shy away from mixing it up.

The Panthers dominated the second half of Saturday's game, often initiating post-whistle scrums yet rarely being penalized for their actions. If they were called for an infraction, usually a Red Wing was also pulled from the pile to even things up and make it four-on-four hockey. Following the game, Andrew Copp talked about how 'the game was being called.' Detroit seemingly took the extra penalty every time. There were a total of 70 penalty minutes in the game.

Florida skated to a 4-0 victory, but the Red Wings had their share of opportunities, primarily in the first half of the game. Alex DeBrincat hit the post, and Bobrovsky robbed Patrick Kane on a breakaway. Kane tried to go five-hole rather than lifting the puck high over the sprawling netminder. The Red Wings also had a goal from J.T. Compher disallowed after Michael Rasmussen knocked down Bobrovsky moments before; it was the correct call. Those three moments could have swung the momentum in favor of the Red Wings, but Saturday just wasn't their day. It's ok. Breathe. If you're the superstitious type, Detroit is now 0-2 since they added the 'priority' patch to their jersey.

If the Detroit Red Wings hope to make the postseason, these are the types of games to expect. These tight-checking, chaos after the whistle, and physical games are prominent in the playoffs. Many were wondering why Klim Kostin wasn't dressed for the game. My only answer is, who are you removing from the lineup? Christian Fischer? He's performed well on Detroit's penalty kill; he adds much more versatility to Detroit's lineup than Kostin. Is Kostin even the heavyweight many make him out to be? Sure, he's gritty, but he's not exactly Bob Probert. Maybe Yzerman is looking to add a physical fourth-line player ahead of the deadline? It's something to ponder.