Red Wings beat Panthers 4-2 for 4th straight win
By NOAH TRISTER
DETROIT (AP) Although the Detroit Red Wings are on their longest winning streak of the season, they've allowed quite a few shots on goal over these past four games.
Jimmy Howard has turned aside enough of them.
Howard made 38 saves, and Anthony Mantha and Gustav Nyquist scored in the third period to lift the Red Wings to their fourth straight victory, 4-2 over the Florida Panthers on Friday night. Howard has played in every game of Detroit's modest streak, stopping 145 of 151 shots.
"The guys are allowing me to see the puck," Howard said. "Most goalies in this league, when they're allowed to see the puck, they're going to make the first save."
The Red Wings were outshot 40-19 by Florida. In fact, they've allowed at least 38 shots in three of the four games during this winning streak. They blew a 2-0 lead Friday, but Mantha put Detroit back ahead on the power play and Nyquist added a breakaway goal with 4:38 remaining.
"They won more puck battles and puck races, and they hemmed us in our end - no doubt about it - for lots of the first and second," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "You look around the league, I don't know how many teams win without elite goaltending. ... I think that's what Jimmy's been giving us."
Andreas Athanasiou and Tomas Tatar also scored for Detroit. Mike Matheson and Aleksander Barkov scored for the Panthers, who had their game at Boston on Thursday night postponed because of severe weather. They were able to make it from there to Detroit to play Friday's game as scheduled.
Florida outshot the Red Wings 29-11 through two periods but still trailed 2-1. Barkov tied it on a 2-on-1 break, but the Panthers quickly gave Detroit two straight power plays, and the Red Wings converted on the second. Martin Frk's slap shot from the point beat goalie James Reimer to the glove side. Mantha, positioned in front, was credited with the goal on an apparent deflection.
"I thought we had all the momentum after we tied the game, but those two penalties killed it," Florida coach Bob Boughner said. "You can't keep anything going when you've got to kill four straight minutes of penalties."
Athanasiou, who scored Detroit's only two goals in an overtime win against Ottawa on Wednesday, gave the Red Wings a 1-0 lead just 42 seconds into the game, skating in from the left and backhanding the puck past Reimer. Dylan Larkin made a nice play behind the net to help set up Detroit's next goal in the second period. He got the puck to Athanasiou, who made an easy pass to Tatar in front of the net.
Matheson scored a terrific goal with 1.5 seconds left in the second, collecting the puck near center ice with a nifty spin and then breezing past a defenseman before beating Howard.
The Red Wings had two goals disallowed after reviews. One came in the second period, when the puck deflected off Detroit's Justin Abdelkader and went high in the air before landing on the back of an unsuspecting Reimer and appearing to go in the net. The goal was taken away after officials ruled Abdelkader's stick was up too high when the puck bounced off it.
NOTES: Henrik Zetterberg reached the 600-assist mark on Nyquist's goal. ... The Panthers have lost two in a row following a five-game winning streak. ... Florida had a penalty-kill percentage of 92.7 over its previous 19 games.
Panthers: Visit the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday.
Red Wings: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday night.
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Updated January 6, 2018