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(Saturday, December 28th)
Final Score: Detroit 4, Florida 3
Sunrise, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - The Detroit Red Wings scored two goals in the first 80 seconds of the third period and held on to edge the Florida Panthers 4-3 on Saturday.
Brendan Smith and Gustav Nyquist lit the lamp 38 seconds apart to give the Red Wings a 4-2 lead before Sean Bergenheim potted his second of the game for Florida.
The Panthers couldn't produce the equalizer despite a pair of power plays and goalie Scott Clemmensen going to the bench for an extra skater in the late stages.
The one constant in recent meetings between the teams is the games are tightly contested. Each of the last seven encounters have been decided by one goal.
"I think disappointment is what's on everyone's mind right now," said Bergenheim. "I think we had chances."
Captain Henrik Zetterberg and Daniel Alfredsson both scored power-play goals for the Red Wings, who have won three of their last four games.
Zetterberg returned to the lineup after missing 11 games with a back injury. Fellow forward Justin Abdelkader was also back for Detroit after a concussion sidelined him for five games.
Jonas Gustavsson made 30 saves and got some help from Smith, who cleared away Bergenheim's hat trick bid with the Detroit netminder out of position.
Clemmensen stopped 27 shots for Florida, which has lost three in a row after winning five straight games.
Smith broke a tie with a one-time blast 42 seconds into the third. After a faceoff win by Detroit, Nyquist pounced on a rebound from the doorstep at 1:20.
"We came out strong in the third," said Nyquist. "It was a real nice win for us."
Bergenheim beat Gustavsson on a wrister in the slot at 4:27.
Special teams were key in the opening period. Detroit converted both of its first two power plays, while the Panthers were 0-for-3 on the man advantage.
Alfredsson beat a screened Clemmensen on the short side with a left-circle shot 3:47 into the game. Zetterberg, playing in his first game since Dec. 1, fired a wrister high over Clemmensen's glove at 14:29 after Pavel Datsyuk kept the puck in the Florida zone.
Florida drew even at 2-2 with goals 2:07 apart in the second period.
After killing three consecutive penalties, the Panthers got a power-play opportunity and finally cashed in. Bergenheim went to the crease, knocked down Brian Campbell's pass and whipped a backhander past Gustavsson at 12:52.
Nick Bjugstad scored the tying goal on a breakaway, using a backhand-forehand deke before putting the puck behind Gustavsson at 14:59.
Datsyuk had two assists ... The Panthers won the first two meetings with Detroit this season.
12/29 00:35:38 ET
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