SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — The Detroit Red Wings were finally able to dominate the Florida Panthers.
Gustav Nyquist scored the go-ahead goal in the second period, helping lift the Red Wings over the Panthers 3-1 on Thursday night.
The Panthers had beaten the Red Wings three of their last four games, including a 5-4 shootout victory on Jan. 26 in Detroit. Each of the previous games was decided by one goal.
“They’ve been tough for us so far this year,” Nyquist said. “I think we’ve been up almost every game in the third and they’ve found a way to come back on us to get a point or two.”
Brian Lashoff and Daniel Alfredsson also scored and Jimmy Howard made 23 saves as the Red Wings ended a four-game road losing streak.
“Good win for our team,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said.
Scottie Upshall scored and Tim Thomas stopped 30 shots for Florida, which has lost four of its last five.
Detroit took a 2-1 lead when Nyquist grabbed a rebound in the slot in the Red Wings’ zone, brought it along the left boards and beat Thomas high on the stick side at 13:22. Nyquist has nine goals in his last nine games.
“I just tried to catch the goalie a little bit off guard, shoot it quick,” Nyquist said.
Lashoff added an empty-net goal with 20 seconds left.
Howard withstood a late surge by the Panthers, with 16 shots in the third. He stopped Bergenheim on a breakaway with 3:40 left, and the Panthers had a power-play at 17:34 of the third, but only got off two shots.
“Down a goal, you knew they were going to throw everything at the net,” Howard said. “I just tried to get to the top of the paint and make myself as big as possible.”
Florida took a 1-0 lead in the first despite a slow start. Upshall came out of the penalty box just in time to take a pass from Tomas Kopecky behind the Red Wings’ defense. His wrist shot from the slot went five-hole on Howard with 26 seconds left in the period — only the second shot of the game for Florida.
“It was great to have that 1-0 lead, but we never picked up any momentum off of it,” Thomas said. “In the third period, we had a push, but too little too late.”
The Red Wings tied it at 1 on Alfredsson’s power-play goal at 6:30 of the second when he found a loose puck in front and swept it past Thomas’ stick.
The Red Wings are hoping to finish strong before the Olympic break and have won three of their past four.
“We’re gaining some confidence here and putting a good stretch together,” Alfredsson said. “We need one good effort here before the break to put ourselves in a better situation.”
The Panthers, coming off a season-high 48 shots Tuesday against Toronto, managed only two shots in the first, a season-low for a period. At the end of the second, they were outshot 23-8.
“They outworked us, simple as that,” Panthers coach Peter Horachek said. “When we’re going, we’re working, when we’re not, we have eight shots after two periods.”
NOTES: Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk, who missed the past 14 games with a lower-body injury, returned to the lineup Thursday. … D Jakub Kindl missed the game with a lower-body injury. … Kopecky recorded his 100th NHL assist.
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