SUNRISE, Fla. – Johan Franzen got himself a goal and Detroit another road win. He had to really plead with teammate Niklas Kronwall, though.
Franzen scored on the power play early in the third period by deflecting Kronwall’s shot and the Detroit Red Wings beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 Friday night for their eighth road win of the season. “I was begging him to shoot it the whole game,” Franzen said. “He finally listened.”
Marian Hossa had the first two goals for the Red Wings, are best in the NHL at 8-1-1 away from home. Kronwall had two assists.
Richard Zednik and Stephen Weiss scored for Florida, which had won two straight.
“I think our effort was there,” Weiss said. “We battled hard against a real good team. We just couldn’t find a goal in the third when we needed one after they got the quick power-play goal.
Ty Conklin stopped 25 shots to win a matchup of backup goalies against Craig Anderson. Conklin improved to 6-0 lifetime in seven career games against the Panthers.
He will leave the team Saturday to be with his wife as she gives birth to the couple’s third child, then return Sunday.
“I imagine he’ll be a little tired when he comes back the following day,” said Detroit coach Mike Babcock. “I was going to give him two days off, but he didn’t want it. He wanted to be back.”
Anderson, who stopped 68 of 69 shots in Florida’s previous two games, was pulled in favour of regular starter Tomas Vokoun at 1:37 of the second after Hossa’s second goal made it 2-0.
Hossa beat Anderson on Detroit’s first shot of the period with a seemingly harmless slap shot to the blocker side from the top of the faceoff circle.
Anderson was even more shaky on the first goal at 17:07 of the first period. After Hossa won a race for the puck in the corner beyond the goal line, he fired it toward the net. The puck bounced off the left skate of Anderson, who then kicked it all in the way in after going down.
The switch to Vokoun appeared to energize the Panthers, who carried the play the rest of the second period while outshooting Detroit 10-6.
“The reason for the goaltending change wasn’t because of the first goal,” Florida coach Pete DeBoer said. “For us, against a team like Detroit, we have to play almost a perfect game in order for us to get a win, and we didn’t. We changed the goalies to try and give the team a spark and wake them up. It seemed to work, in the second period anyway.”
Zednik cut the lead to 2-1 when he backhanded home a rebound after Bryan McCabe’s slap shot from the point.
Weiss tied it at 11:52 of the second when he took Zednik’s backhand pass and fired a wrist shot from close range through traffic that beat Conklin to the blocker side.
“We’re definitely not into moral victories,” Panthers defenceman Keith Ballard said. “Tonight you can say we played a pretty good game, we played hard, we outplayed them in the second, but at the end of the day, we don’t have any points out of it. We need to get points every night.”
Notes: As is tradition back in Detroit, an octopus was thrown onto the ice after Franzen’s goal. … Datsyuk assisted on Hossa’s second goal to extend his point streak to five games. … Detroit RW Dan Cleary missed his third consecutive game because of an eye infection. … Florida returned G Tyler Plante to Dayton of the ECHL. … Florida C Kamil Kreps missed his fourth consecutive game because of a concussion.