The NHL is set up with a strong afternoon of action on Sunday. Five games are up on the board throughout February 7. One of these games will be between the Detroit Red Wings and the Florida Panthers. These two teams have had very opposite starts to the season, but will look to earn a win in this one. This game will drop the puck at around 3:00 PM Eastern time.
The Red Wings have opened up this season with a record of 2-8-2 throughout the early part of this season, which has them sitting in last place of the Central Division. Detroit has lost eight straight games entering this one. The Red Wings will look to finally turn it around with a much needed win on Sunday afternoon.
Florida has put up a record of 6-0-2 throughout this season, which has them sitting in second place of the Central Division. The Panthers are coming off a win in their last game and have earned a point in all eight of their games this season. Florida will play their third game in four days, which they will look to avoid a slow start on Sunday.
These two teams have had very different starts to this new season. Detroit has not gotten anything going, while the Panthers have not lost in regulation. The Red Wings will look to finally get back in the win column with a victory in this one. Florida has been solid, but this could be a slower game as they had two matchup against Nashville on Thursday and Friday night.
The Red Wings and the Panthers met up three times throughout last season. Jonathan Huberdeau had two goals and an assist in the first game as Florida won 4-0. Mike Hoffman had a goal and two assists in the second meeting to secure a 5-4 win for the Panthers. Sergei Bobrovsky finished with 27 saves on 28 shots in the final meeting as Florida swept the season series with a 4-1 win.
The first game of this season’s series was on January 30 in Detroit. Tyler Bertuzzi and Anthony Mantha both had a goal for the Red Wings as Detroit forced overtime. Aleksander Barkov had a goal and an assists as well on the night. Aleksi Heponiemi scored the winner in overtime, while Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 25 of 27 shots to help lead the Panthers to a 3-2 win.
The second game was also in Detroit on January 31. Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha both netted goals for the Red Wings, which still was not enough. Jonathan Huberdeau and Keith Yandle both had two assists on the night. Aaron Ekblad, Patric Hornqvist and Carter Verhaeghe all scored for the Panthers as well. Chris Driedger stopped 32 of the 34 shots he faced to help give Florida a 3-2 win once again.
Florida has won seven straight games against the Red Wings. The Panthers have been able to dominate Detroit as of late and they will look to do so again in this one. The Red Wings were able to keep it close in the first two games of this season series and will look to have a better finish on Sunday afternoon. If Florida’s offense can continue to dominate Detroit though, it could be another win.
The Red Wings special teams have struggled throughout this season, but will look to step up in this one. Detroit has scored on 4 of their 40 power play opportunities, which is a 10 percent success rate. The Red Wings have given up 11 goals on 38 penalties against, which is a 71.1 percent penalty kill. Detroit needs to find a way to get their special teams going in this one.
Florida’s power play has been dangerous so far this season, while their penalty kill has struggled at times. The Panther have capitalized on 9 of their 25 power play chances, which is a 36 percent power play. Florida has killed off 20 of their opponents 26 power play attempts, which is a 76.9 percent kill rate. The Panthers will look to use this game to improve their penalty kill.
The Panthers have had the better special teams unit so far this season. Florida has been solid throughout the season on the power play, but their penalty kill could use some work. The Red Wings have struggled to get anything going and need to find some rhythm on the power play. Detroit has struggled to even get chances going on the power play and will look to turn it around in this one.
Thomas Greiss will likely get the start in the crease for the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon. Greiss has played in nine games this season, going 0-7-2 throughout his starts. He has put up a .892 save percentage and a GAA of 3.27. Greiss’s last start was against the Tampa Bay Lightning, where he stopped 29 of 31 shots in the loss.
I expect Sergei Bobrovsky to get the nod in the net for Florida in this one. Bobrovsky has earned a record of 3-0-1 throughout his four starts this season. He has posted a save percentage of .881 and a 3.57 GAA so far this season as well. Bobrovsky’s last start was against the Nashville Predators. He turned away 35 of the 41 shots he faced in the overtime loss.
These two goalies have not put up the best numbers so far this season. Greiss has taken on most of the workload for the Red Wings with Jonathan Bernier out. Greiss has struggled at times, but needs some help from Detroit’s offense. Bobrovsky is coming off a tough overtime loss in his last performance and will look to do much better in this one.
The Red Wings have not been great throughout the early portion of this season and the losing streak continues to grow. Detroit has lost seven straight games to the Panthers, but I think they can turn it around in this one. Greiss has not earned a win yet this season, despite having quite a few strong performances. If the Red Wings can find some momentum on offense, I think they can earn a win in this one.
BetOnline has Florida listed as a -225 against the money line in this matchup. This implies that the Panthers will win this game 69.2 percent of the time. Florida is the better team this season, but Detroit is due for a win against the Panthers. The Red Wings are not going to struggle against Florida forever and as huge underdogs, I really like the value on Detroit.