With the Detroit Red Wings leading the Florida Panthers 3-2 going into the third period, the stats showed the game was all but over. Even though the Panthers tied the game, Detroit forward Todd Bertuzzi scored the winner with 7:32 left, and the Red Wings improved to 22-0-2 when leading after two periods, Friday night in Sunrise.
Bertuzzi took a backhand pass from Johan Franzen, and one-timed a shot passed a confused Tomas Vokoun. Bertuzzi also opened the scoring just 1:21 into the first period, when he took a Henrik Zetterberg pass and snapped a shot into an open net. Vokoun was lured out of position by Zetterberg’s puck control.
Detroit made it 2-0 when Daniel Cleary took a great outlet pass from Pavel Datsyuk and went in alone on Vokoun. Cleary’s first shot was stopped, but he got his own rebound and buried it for his 19th goal of the season.
The Panthers responded on a Radek Dvorak tally late in the first period. Dvorak streaked down the right wing boards and took a wrist shot that squeaked through Detroit goaltender Joey MacDonald’s five hole, and trickled into the net.
The Red Wings went up 3-1 early in the second period, when Datsyuk picked off a pass in the attack zone and out waited Vokoun, beating him up high.
Florida got back in the game on a power play goal in the dying seconds of the second period. Stephen Weiss won the face off back to Dennis Wideman, who beat MacDonald with a slap shot from the point. Weiss tied the game midway through the third period when he picked up a loose puck in the slot and drilled a shot over the glove of MacDonald.
The Panthers, who finished a five game home stand, jump right back into action tomorrow night in Tampa Bay against the Lightning.