Detroit Red Wings vs. Florida Panthers Pick & Prediction MARCH 2nd 2024

The important number for the Florida Panthers in their last outing was 40.

As in, the Panthers collected their 40th victory of the season and Sam Reinhart reached — and eclipsed — the 40-goal mark.

When they visit Detroit on Saturday afternoon, the number they’ll be chasing is four. Florida will aim for their fourth consecutive victory overall and 14th in the last 16 games.

The Panthers’ last five games have been decided by one goal — one regulation victory, a regulation loss and three in overtime or a shootout.

The 4-3 victory over Montreal on Thursday ended with Anton Lundell’s goal in the shootout.

“We knew it was not going to be easy,” Lundell said. “We had to battle every shift.”

Reinhart scored two goals in regulation, giving him a career-best 41 this season. He never had more than 33 in his first eight full seasons in the league.

Reinhart hadn’t scored a goal in the previous seven games.

“It’s felt like a long time coming. It’s nice to get back on the scoresheet and get a win,” he said.

His short-handed goal with 6:55 remaining in the third period tied the game at 3-apiece. He has five short-handed goals this season, one shy of the franchise record.

“It’s a huge milestone. It’s incredibly difficult,” coach Paul Maurice said. “There’s very few men in the history of the game that get to the 40-goal mark. It’s a huge accomplishment. He’s earned it. Good on him.”

The Canadiens’ three-goal tally was the most by an opponent in 15 games, speaking to the stoutness of Florida’s defense.

Detroit is well aware of how difficult it is to score against the Panthers. The Red Wings were shut out 2-0 on Nov. 2 as Sergei Bobrovsky made 22 saves.

Detroit pulled out a 3-2 overtime win on Jan. 17 as captain Dylan Larkin scored on a power play. That snapped the Red Wings’ 10-game losing streak to the Panthers.

The Red Wings will be looking to start a new winning streak on Saturday afternoon. Detroit had won six straight before the visiting New York Islanders captured a 5-3 victory on Thursday.

After scoring a season-high eight goals in their previous outing, the Red Wings spent most of the night playing catch-up. They were down 2-0 after the first period, then scored tying goals twice in the third period. Mathew Barzal’s goal with 6:02 remaining proved to be the game-winner.

“This will be a disappointing, missed opportunity to have this game tied twice in the third and to not come out with a point,” Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said. “We’re simply not good enough to not have intensity much of the game in stretches of time. (We) just couldn’t get any rhythm going at all.”

Defenseman Olli Maatta scored two of Detroit’s goals and Patrick Kane had the other, extending his point streak to 10 games (six goals, nine assists). That still wasn’t enough against the Islanders, who are fighting for a wild-card spot. The Red Wings currently hold the top wild-card position.

“We know this time of year we’re going to get to the other team’s best, we’ve earned that,” Maatta said. “We’re in position, especially these games when they’re chasing us, we’re getting their best. They battled and competed and we have to match that higher level. These games are tough. It’s not easy to win these games.”

–Field Level Media

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