Detroit Red Wings (17-13-9) at Florida Panthers (14-19-5)
|Date & Time||Saturday December 28, 2013, 7:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Florida Panthers / Detroit Red Wings --- Over/Under:
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Perhaps it's about time we start recognizing that this isn't the Detroit Red Wings hockey club that we've been used to seeing year after year. There are major deficiencies with this Red Wings hockey club and if it weren't for the loser point in the National Hockey League this team would be in really bad shape. Luckily for Detroit and their fans they still are in contention thanks to their seven extra time losses. The fact of the matter is that the Red Wings are playing under .500 hockey and they haven't been able to take advantage of their first season in the Eastern Conference. Detroit has had immense problems scoring goals of late and now they head to Florida to take on a young Panthers club that has already beaten them twice this month. These two teams met earlier in December with the Red Wings falling by a goal in each contest. Detroit was shutout 3-0 by the New York Islanders in their last game before the Christmas break and it doesn't seem to matter what Mike Babcock does right now because it just isn't working for his hockey club. With seven of their next nine games coming on the road it could be do-or-die time for the Red Wings already this season. With 43 points the Red Wings find themselves four points behind the third place Montreal Canadiens in the Atlantic Division standings but it won't get any easier for them anytime soon. It seems the Florida Panthers have gotten the message since their head coach took the fall for their lackluster play early in the season. Florida had won five straight games before dropping their last two games before the Christmas break. In those two games the Panthers allowed 11 goals to the Winnipeg Jets and Tampa Bay Lightning and that will be their biggest problem going forward this year. Florida has shown us that they have some good young talent in the pipeline and a group of guys that are willing to work hard every night. The problem is the Panthers just don't have the defense and goaltending at this point and when things go back they tend to really fall apart in a hurry. This is a tough spot for the Panthers who are looking to take down a Red Wings team for a third straight time this month. That's a tall task even against a Detroit club that has looked mediocre at best this year.