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Big Bert Makes Panthers Pay (Again) as Red Wings top Florida 4-3

Berternie RED WINGS 4, PANTHERS 3

When a supposed Detroit fan tossed a slimy Octopus onto the BankAtlantic Center ice late in the second period, he probably hurt his team's cause more than he helped it.

That patron, who was promptly and roughly escorted out of the lower bowl by Sunrise's finest, tossed the cephalopod in the middle of a play, one in which the Red Wings were cycling the puck and looking to put the Panthers away for good.

As usual, the Panthers are a tough group to finish off.

Florida, down two at the time of the Octopus toss, scored two goals to tie the Red Wings only to watch short-time Panthers forward Todd Bertuzzi score from the left circle and lift Detroit to a 4-3 win in front of an announced 19,947 in Sunrise.

The Panthers, now two games under .500 in the win/regulation-loss column, have had 18 of their past 21 games decided by one goal.

“To be tied late in a game against a team like Detroit, well, you have to be doing something right,'' defenseman Mike Weaver said. “We just needed that last goal. It shows we have something going on here. We have a great penalty kill, the power play is picking up goals. We have some things to work on, but I like what's going on. You can sense the turnaround.''

Bertuzzi played in just seven games during his brief stint in South Florida, the power forward coming to the Panthers in the controversial Roberto Luongo trade in 2006. Bertuzzi had a monster night in his first game with the Panthers, then had a back Berternie2 injury and was traded to Detroit at the end of that first year. He's now just another name in the Panthers long list of bad trades.

His game Friday was reminiscent of Opening Night 2006 when he scored a goal and had three assists in a win over Boston.

Bertuzzi scored Detroit's opening goal just 1:21 into the game off a nice pass from Henrik Zetterberg. Bertuzzi's game-winner came after the Panthers gave Detroit an odd-man rush, with Bertuzzi sprinting in just in time to fire Johan Franzen's pass from the left circle past Tomas Vokoun with 7:32.

All the momentum the Panthers had built in tying the Red Wings seemed to evaporate.

“We're knocking on the door and it's easy to be frustrated with the one goal losses,'' said Jack Skille, who had a chance to score in the second but he misfired on a nice pass from Stephen Weiss on a 2-on-1. “We need to get the first goal and stop working from behind.''

Florida trailed 2-0 early in the first but countered with 3:07 left in the opening period when Radek Dvorak outraced Niklas Kronwall to a puck and drove in on goalie Joey MacDonald. Dvorak's off-center shot hit MacDonald before trickling over the line.

The Red Wings added a goal from Pavel Datsyuk off a Panthers defensive breakdown deep in the Florida zone, but Dennis Wideman beat MacDonald with a hard shot during a power play with 21.2 seconds left in the second to allow the Panthers to go into the second intermission down just one.

“We gave them a couple chances early and they stuck it in the net,'' coach Pete DeBoer said. “You know what you're dealing with in Detroit. Credit our guys for sticking with it and battling for 60 minutes. We needed a save or a goal at the end and didn't get one.''

Bertlouie The Panthers had plenty of scoring chances in the third period, with Weiss tying the game on a shot midway through. Bertuzzi gave Detroit the lead back, but Florida put pressure on at the end but came up short.

On one sequence, with Vokoun on the bench and the net vacant, Florida couldn't get a puck to the net after Wideman broke his stick on a shot and Cory Stillman whiffed on his. When the Panthers retook control of the puck, Weiss was offsides. At that point, only five seconds remained and the Wings left the Sunshine State a perfect 2-0 after beating the Southeast Division leading Lightning 6-2 on Thursday.

“We wanted a quick start and didn't get it, but I think we played our game after that,'' Weaver said. “Detroit's a good team. They're a puck possession team and overall, we did pretty good. We just didn't get the result.''

McCABE RETURNS

Captain Bryan McCabe returned to the Panthers lineup for the first time since breaking his jaw during a game against the Devils on Jan. 15. McCabe has been working for the Panthers the past week and says he feels fine and was ready to go.

“It's been a long time and I'm excited to get back out there, have some fun,'' McCabe said. “There's no pain or anything. I just have to get my timing back, get my legs under me.''

With McCabe in the lineup, Joe Callahan was a healthy scratch.

-- The Panthers called up winger Kenndal McArdle – Florida's first pick in the Sidney Crosby draft of 2005 – on Thursday night as a precaution if Steve Bernier couldn't play. Bernier, who missed Wednesday's game after falling ill, was feeling good Friday and played. McArdle did as well. The Panthers scratched bruiser Darcy Hordichuk.

McArdle and Callahan could be returned to Florida's AHL affiliate in Rochester, N.Y., as early as Saturday. The two could stick around at least through Saturday's game in Tampa just in case.

Lightninggirls SATURDAY: PANTHERS AT LIGHTNING
When, Where: 7:30 p.m.; St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa
TV/Radio: FSNF; WQAM 560
The series: Panthers lead 51-34-10
The game: The Panthers haven't fared well in the second game of a back-to-back set this season, going 3-8-0. Tampa Bay had Friday night off after losing to the Red Wings 6-2 on Thursday night. The Southeast Division leaders, the Lightning have lost three of four. Florida has won two of three against the Lightning this season. Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos, 21, has six goals and six assists in 12 games against the Panthers.

Comments

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LETS GO TAMPA

TOP 3 PICK HERE WE COME!!!!!!

TAMPA 5

PANTHERS 1


SKILLE BLOWS
ALLEN BLOWS

TANK TANK TANK, THIS SEASON IS OVER LIKE ALWAYS!! SWEEEEEET

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Our great trade for No skill Skille was evident tonite as he misses open net deflection/pass from Weiss.He also blows coverage on another Detroit goal(thats a 2 goal swing)McCardle passes puck right to Detroit forward in our zone.(we wont see him again)Allen blows coverage totally and that results in another Detroit goal.First goal was blown coverage .I think it was Reasoner but not sure on this one.Vokoun cant stop an easier goal as he stumbles on last goal.What can I say.If this Skille trade is any indication of Tallon we are in big trouble.I will say it again The Frolik trade was made to get rid of his 1.5 million salary and replace him with a guy that makes only 650,000 and was a first round pick 5 yrs ago.

the defensive liability appears to be Wideman, the last two games he has been out of position which led to goals.

Is his 6 power play goals worth his minus play during 5 on 5?

Now I can see why Boston got rid of the guy.

Tampa is now 19 points ahead of the panthers.

Last year Tampa had 80 points and 34 wins and the panthers 77 points and 32 wins what is the difference?

Tampa has an aggressive GM, a new owner and a new COO.

The panthers GM is taking the long term path.

Players want to play for Tampa, they want to retire for the Panthers.

Tampa is strong up front, weak at the d and weak at goal and address their weaknesses with aggressive trades.

The panthers are strong in goal, have a solid d and are extremely poor up front.

Are we seeing the new NHL where your forwards are key to the team, the strong teams are strong at Center which is the panthers greatest weakness.

I love the grit and effort, however that doesn't win the cup.

time to clean house as we fall further behind the playoff position and don't look now but NJ is right behind us after a God awful start where they again made moves to improve, we just seem to make moves to change interchangable parts.

Tallon had two top 3 picks in deep drafts.

This draft is a top four draft, last year a top two draft.

Talk already that at the 5th pick might pick an offensive defensemen. I hope not, this team needs centers. Weiss is our only center and he should be a number 2.

What a pleasure skille is to watch. 100 %. Effort all the time ... Infectious. Great trade. Must get a finisher or two over the summer.

Lets hope the Panther scouting staff is really revamped as oppose to last year. We missed out on the skinner steal, hopefully they can find some talent like that in this years draft.

Adam Graves you must work for Yormark---Skille totally missed an open net deflection after a perfect pass from Weiss not to mention one blown coverage and shots that sail wide.Go read the Chicago papers to find out how good of a finisher he was in Chicago.Meaningless checks/hits dont win games--goals do!

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