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Red Wings pay visit to Florida teams

Detroit brings 5-game winning streak to Florida

Florida Panthers right wing Brad Boyes (24) and Detroit Red Wings left wing Henrik Zetterberg (40) battle for position in the first period during an NHL hockey game in Detroit Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014.
Florida Panthers right wing Brad Boyes (24) and Detroit Red Wings left wing Henrik Zetterberg (40) battle for position in the first period during an NHL hockey game in Detroit Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

SUNRISE, Fla. – The Detroit Red Wings have quietly moved within a point of first place in the Atlantic Division while riding a productive offense that has churned out 29 goals in the last eight outings.

The Red Wings look for their eighth win in nine games when they visit the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.

Detroit, which plays at first-place Tampa Bay on Thursday, tries to take advantage of a Panthers' team that has gone winless in its last four contests (0-3-1) and gave up 16 goals in the process. Captain Henrik Zetterberg posted eight points to lead the way for the Red Wings in the last three games before the All-Star break.

Florida was one of the best stories in the first half of the season before giving up eight goals at Winnipeg and losing three straight contests at home to drop seven points out of a playoff spot. All-Star Roberto Luongo, who boasts a .923 save percentage, still gives the Panthers plenty of hope.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FSN Detroit, FSN Florida

ABOUT THE RED WINGS (27-11-9): Special teams are a big reason Detroit is where it stands as the power play ranks second in the league (25.4 percent) after going 5-of-8 the last three games and the penalty-killing unit is sixth (84.6). Zetterberg leads the team with 44 points after his latest surge while Gustav Nyquist has 36 and Tomas Tatar tops the Red Wings with 21 goals.

Petr Mrazek is 4-1-0 since replacing injured Jimmy Howard (groin) in net, but allowed seven goals on 45 shots the last two outings despite going 1-0-0.

ABOUT THE PANTHERS (20-14-10): Florida has struggled in the defensive end of late and its power play has not been able to save it, going only 1-of-23 over the last eight games to drop to 29th in the league at 12.8 percent. Nick Bjugstad leads the Panthers with 15 goals and 27 points, but has no tallies and just three assists in his last seven contests.

Former Calder Trophy winner Jonathan Huberdeau and current Calder candidate defenseman Aaron Ekblad are next with 25 points for the Panthers – 25th in the league in scoring.

NOTES:

1. The Panthers have won five of the last seven meetings – three of the victories coming in shootouts.

2. Detroit D Xavier Ouellet, who has a plus-6 rating in 19 games, is questionable due to a wrist injury.

3. Florida C Derek MacKenzie leads the team in hits (135) and faceoff percentage among those who have taken at least 75 at 53.1.


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