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Detroit Red Wings

Red Wings Learn Difference Between Playoff Team and Cup Contender

Detroit has dropped two in a row



Moritz Seider
Red Wings defenseman Moritz felt the Panthers had all aspects covered in their win over Detroit.

Barring some truly unforeseen circumstances, the Detroit Red Wings will be playing in this spring’s Stanley Cup playoffs for the first since since 2016. However, you probably shouldn’t be counting on them hanging around for long.

The faithful at Little Caesars Arena got an eyeful of what a legit Stanley Cup contender looks like on Saturday afternoon, and it wasn’t the team wearing the winged wheel on their chest. The Florida Panthers dropped in for a visit and put a 4-0 whipping on Detroit that was exactly as one-sided as that scoreline would indicate.

This was an early education for the Red Wings on the ways of the Stanley Cup playoffs and they were garnering failing grades across the board.

“You talk about measuring sticks, this is one and we weren’t there today,” Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said following the game. “That’s a pretty good team that was clicking today and they were better than us.”

Panthers Better In All Areas

If you went through a report card for this game, the Panthers would get a check mark in all boxes.

“They just have every aspect covered,” Detroit defenseman Moritz Seider said.

The Panthers’ best players were their best players. Both Sam Reinhart (42nd goal) and Carter Verhaeghe (31st goal) tallied. Each of Florida’s top five scorers would collect a point.

When the Red Wings got chances, Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky was the one with the answers. His 21 saves would include a pair of breakaway stops on Patrick Kane. Go ahead. Try and recall the last time Kane missed on a breakaway. We’ll wait.

The cunning Panthers goaded Detroit into retaliatory penalties. Florida’s power play was 2-for-5. The Panthers penalty kill was 5-for-5.

“You saw them in the playoffs last year,” Red Wings forward Andrew Copp said of the Panthers. “They can suffocate you. Their goalie is good, they got big D, it’s tough to get to the front of the net on. That’s when they’re successful.”

Red Wings Need To Learn Lesson

In successive losses to the New York Islanders and Florida, Detroit is displaying that this team has much to learn about what it’s going to be like when the games ramp up to another level as the NHL’s second season begins in late April.

The positive from an afternoon of being schooled is that they’ve still time to study before exams begin.

“Obviously, (Saturday) wasn’t our best,” Copp said. “But it’s a great lesson. I’d rather learn this lesson now than have to learn it in Game 1 and 2 of the playoffs. So there’s positives to be taken.”

They’d better be quick studies, though, because it must be said that time is not on the side of the Red Wings.