SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Givani Smith had a goal and an assist as Detroit Red Wings won for the first time in nine games, beating the Florida Panthers 4-1 on Sunday.
Marc Staal scored for the first time with Detroit, Robby Fabbri and Vladislav Namestnikov added goals and Troy Stecher had two assists. Goaltender Thomas Greiss stopped 36 shots.
“Losing is never fun. We made some steps last game against Tampa that we carried over into tonight right off the hop and I think the biggest thing was we kept it going for 60 minutes,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. “That’s the biggest thing. That’s how we’re going to win games and beat teams is to outwork them, outwill them and we proved that tonight.”
Greiss, who moved to 1-7-2, stopped a three-on-one Florida break with the Red Wings ahead 2-1 in the third period.
“He’s done that a lot this year … we just haven’t been able to capitalize off a great save like that, sort of nice to get one tonight,” Blashill said.
Alex Wennberg scored for the Panthers. Florida (6-1-2) became the last NHL team to lose in regulation.
Acquired from the New York Rangers in a trade last September after a 13-year career, Staal put Detroit up 1-0 at 2:58 of the second period with his backhander in close. Sam Gagner notched his first assist with the Red Wings on the goal.
Blashill made the decision to scratch Anthony Mantha, but Smith stepped up with a big goal.
Bobby Ryan’s steal near goaltender Chris Driedger set up Smith’s score at 17:02 for a 2-0 lead.
“The only thing I can really do is every time I’m in the lineup, just to work my hardest, work my best and hopefully it can pay off in the long run,” Smith said.
Trailing to begin the third period for the first time this season, the Panthers got within a goal at 2:09 when Wennberg scored his first for Florida on a deflection.
“(It was good) to get this first one off and build off that and get some confidence,” said Wennberg, a free-agent acquisition who previously played for Columbus.