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Five Takeaways: Detroit Red Wings Show Grit in 3-2 OT Loss to Unbeaten Florida

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Alex Nedeljkovic made 30 saves, but it wasn't enough to prevent the Detroit Red Wings from falling 3-2 in overtime.

The Florida Panthers defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in overtime Friday in a game that felt a tiny bit like a win for the Detroiters. The Red Wings rallied from a two-goal deficit to tie the game on a late goal by Pius Suter. Sam Gagner scored Detroit’s first goal. The Red Wings have won five out of their last six points.

This is what Detroit management wanted to see

Coach Jeff Blashill was disappointed they lost in overtime. But the fire and spunk the Red Wings have shown in the past two games against Washington and Florida shows the team is headed in the right direction. For the second consecutive game, the Red Wings erased a 2-0 deficit to earn points.

In the third period, the Red Wings had a sequence when Adam Erne and Robby Fabbri combined for three blocked shots and goalie Alex Nedeljkovic scrambled around his crease to keep Detroit in the game against the unbeaten Panthers. When the whistle blew, Filip Hronek was standing in the crease where the goalie would normally be. The Little Caesars Arena crowd responded with a thunderous ovation. The Red Wings blocked 23 shots in this game

“I think it is a good example of what our team has been about,” Blashill said. “We want to sacrifice more than other teams to win a hockey game.”

Nedeljkovic Did His Part

Alex Nedeljkovic made 30 saves in a losing effort, and made some big saves when needed most. In a small sample size, the Red Wings’ goaltender looks like he has growing confidence. His save percentage has been .900 and above in his last four outings.

“I think the last two games he’s been in a situation where he had to make a whole bunch of big saves at critical moments” Blashill said. “And he’s done that. I think both (goalies) should have lots of confidence with where their game is at.”

Detroit Red Wings Top Line Still Flying

The Red Wings’ top line of Lucas Raymond, Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi was held off the scoresheet. But the trio was buzzing in this game, totaling 14 shots on goal. Larkin had seven. He also blocked two shots.

Larkin has erased any thought that last season’s neck injury would have a lingering impact. Raymond was again dangerous, waltzing through four Panthers on one play to get a breakaway. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped him with a glove save.

The line won’t be together for the next two games because the Red Wings play in Toronto and Montreal. Bertuzzi can’t cross the Canadian border because he isn’t vaccinated for Covid-19. He will work out on his own and join the team in Boston Wednesday.

Pius Suter has now picked up a couple of points. The Red Wings needed more production out of the second line.

Detroit Red Wings’ PP Still Problematic

The Red Wings could have won this game if they were able to cash in on even one of their four power play chances. Their power play percentage has fallen to 12.2%. That’s getting closer to last season’s miserable 11% percentage.

“It’s not good enough,” Blashill said. “We are going to go back to the drawing board on it, simplify some things on it.”

In Mo We Trust

Moritz Seider is eight games into his NHL career and he is having undeniable impact on this team. He played 26 minutes and 31 seconds. That was four minutes more than everyone else on Detroit’s team.

Seider took the shot from the point that Suter tipped in for the tying goal with 2:41 left in regulation. He had four hits and two shots on goal. His seven assists place him second in the rookie scoring race behind Lucas Raymond (eight points).

“I have a lot of confidence in Moritz Seider, but he has to get better at some things too,” Blashill said.

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