DETROIT — Chris Driedger made 32 saves for the Florida Panthers, who swept a two-game set against the Detroit Red Wings with a 3-2 win at Little Caesars Arena on Sunday.
“They came out hot, but after the first period, we buckled down,” Driedger said. “We’ve been down in almost every game, but no one is giving up. This group has a great attitude.”
Patric Hornqvist, Aaron Ekblad and Carter Verhaeghe scored for the Panthers (5-0-1), who defeated the Red Wings 3-2 in overtime on Saturday. Jonathan Huberdeau and Keith Yandle each had two assists.
Florida’s win was its first in regulation since defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 in its season opener on Jan. 17.
“That finally happened,” Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov said. “We’ve been working hard as a group, and we have gotten great outcomes. It feels like a fresh start for us, and we’re only going to get better.”
Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha scored for Detroit (2-6-2), which is 0-4-2 in its past six games. Thomas Greiss made 27 saves.
Larkin gave the Red Wings a 1-0 lead at 4:12 of the first period, taking a pass from Givani Smith and beating Driedger with a backhand in front.
“We had a great start to the game, but we just didn’t generate anything in the second period,” Larkin said. “That just killed our momentum, and then we hit a couple posts and a crossbar in the third period.”
Hornqvist tied it 1-1 with a power-play goal from the edge of the crease at 2:03 of the second period.
Ekblad gave the Panthers a 2-1 lead at 15:04 with their second power-play goal of the period. Florida was 4-for-7 with the man-advantage in the two-game set.
“The game is always going to go back and forth. We’re not going to be able to control 60 minutes against a solid team like Florida like we did in the first period,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “But it certainly hurts to keep having to kill penalties, especially when we’ve been scored on too many times during the penalty kill.”
Verhaeghe capitalized during a delayed penalty to extend the lead to 3-1 at 8:09 of the third period, redirecting a centering pass from Barkov.
“Detroit came out strong and scored right off the bat, but we caught up to the pace,” Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said. “We got a couple of lines going, and that’s important for us. We’re not a one-line team.”
Mantha cut it to 3-2 at 18:12 with Greiss pulled for the extra skater, but Florida held on for its eighth straight win against Detroit.
NOTES: The Red Wings have five players on the COVID-19 protocol list — forwards Adam Erne, Robby Fabbri, Sam Gagner and Filip Zadina, and defenseman Jon Merrill — but Blashill expects to have each player back for Detroit’s upcoming series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. … Ekblad, who was born across the Detroit River in Windsor, Ontario, has 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) in 24 games against the Red Wings, his most against any opponent.