Four periods of hockey weren't enough to decide a winner, so the Detroit Red Wings used their 1-on-1 skills in a shootout to edge the Florida Panthers 2-1 on Sunday.
The Wings out-shot the Panthers 31-26 in regulation, but spent 23 minutes in the penalty box compared to only six for Florida. Jiri Hudler's 25th goal of the season tied the score at one apiece with 14:30 remaining in the third period after the Panthers held a 1-0 lead for much of the afternoon.
Hudler also managed to pour in the decisive goal in the shootout, with a firm wrist shot that beat Florida goalie Scott Clemmensen on the glove side. A save by goaltender Jimmy Howard followed suit for the Wings, capping off an impressive comeback after trailing for the majority of the game.
Three games remain on the schedule for the Red Wings, but a strong showing from Howard in net down the stretch was a vital sign for this team going forward. Detroit heads to division-leading St. Louis on Wednesday for its final road game of the 2011-12 season.
Detroit was granted a quick power play to open the second period after struggling to find a man advantage in the opening 20 minutes, but could not convert against the Panther's stout penalty kill.
Florida goalie Scott Clemmensen has been the story of the day, and has sent away all 17 shots he's faced. Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard was shaky in the opening period, but settled into a groove as the game wore on and appears to be working through some of the rust after missing time due to injury.
Despite a 2-6-2 record over their last ten games, a win today would crack the 100-point barrier for the Wings, a number that has been viewed as a benchmark in Hockeytown for decades. However, it will take a strong showing in the third period to pull this off.
In the first of four games remaining on the Red Wings' schedule, Detroit is behind the Florida Panthers 1-0 on the scoreboard after one period at Joe Louis Arena.
The Wings, who have been on a monumental slide over the last month and have dropped to third place in the Central Division, are still tied for the fourth-most points in the Western Conference heading into the playoffs.
For Florida, Panthers forward Tomas Fleischmann buried a one-timer with 2:22 remaining in the period to open the scoring for his 26th goal of the season. The Panthers also hold a slight 10 to 7 edge in shots after the first 20 minutes of action.
Despite being unable to find the net, Detroit killed off two Florida power plays (and eventually a third) early in the period before eventually yielding the first goal. Goalie Jimmy Howard is playing in his second game back from injury after stopping 23 shots in a loss on Friday night, and needs to shake off the rust quickly to inspire confidence in a deep Red Wings run in the postseason.