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game recap

Red Wings score twice in third to defeat Panthers, win fourth in row

Zetterberg gets 600th assist; Howard makes 38 saves

by Dave Hogg / Correspondent

DETROIT -- Jimmy Howard made 38 saves, and the Detroit Red Wings won their fourth straight game, 4-2 against the Florida Panthers at Little Caesars Arena on Friday.

Howard has a .952 save percentage in his past six games and hasn't allowed more than two goals in that stretch.

"The guys are allowing me to see the puck in the last few games, and most goalies in this league are going to make saves when they can see the puck," he said. "We're finally getting some bounces and we have to keep this rolling."


[WATCH: All Panthers vs. Red Wings highlights]


Andreas Athanasiou, Tomas Tatar, Anthony Mantha and Gustav Nyquist scored for Detroit (17-16-7).

Florida (17-18-5) has lost two straight after a four-game winning streak. Mike Matheson and Aleksander Barkov scored for the Panthers, who had a 40-19 edge in shots.

"We had great chances all night, but Howard was just great," said Barkov, who had 10 shots on goal. "If we play like that every night, we'll win a lot of games."

James Reimer made 15 saves.

"There are nights when you face 48 shots and get a shutout, and then there are nights like this, where pucks keep slipping past you," he said.

Video: FLA@DET: Larkin, Athanasiou set up Tatar for a goal

Mantha gave the Red Wings a 3-2 lead on the power play at 8:03 of the third period, deflecting Martin Frk's slap shot with Florida center Nick Bjugstad in the penalty box.

"That was pure luck, to be honest," Mantha said. "His shot is too hard for me to see. I just had my stick down and I guess he it hit it."

Howard preserved the lead with a glove save on Evgenii Dadonov with 6:32 remaining.

Nyquist made it 4-2 at 15:22, taking a long pass from Henrik Zetterberg and scoring on a breakaway for his 13th goal. It was Zetterberg's 600th NHL assist.

One game after tying an NHL record by scoring six seconds into overtime for a 2-1 win against the Ottawa Senators, Athanasiou gave the Red Wings a 1-0 lead 42 seconds into the first period. He took a pass from Mike Green, beat Aaron Ekblad to the outside and cut in for a shot past Reimer.

Video: FLA@DET: Howard flashes leather, preserves the lead

"We talk a lot about getting the puck to our speed guys in open ice," Athanasiou said. "I got a good bounce and was able to get a goal on our first shift. That's always a good feeling."

Athanasiou has four goals on 21 shots in his past four games.

"We showed our guys video of what he did to Ottawa before the game, but Aaron tried to get a 50-50 puck and missed, and once he gets behind you, he's gone," Florida coach Bob Boughner said. "That's their game plan: Throw it to him deep and let him use that speed."

Tatar gave the Red Wings a 2-0 lead at 7:08 of the second period off a pass from Athanasiou.

Mike Matheson made it 2-1 with two seconds left, taking a pass at center ice and using a spin move to get past Green.

"I threw an outlet pass out of our zone, and then I saw a lot of open ice, so I decided to go for it," said Matheson, who scored in overtime to defeat Detroit 2-1 on Dec. 11.

Barkov tied it 2-2 at 3:19 of the third period, finishing a 2-on-1 by tapping in Jonathan Huberdeau's pass for his 12th goal, first since Dec. 14.

Florida on Thursday had its game at the Boston Bruins postponed because of weather and did not fly to Detroit until Friday morning.

Video: FLA@DET: Barkov ties game on feed from Huberdeau


Goal of the game

Athanasiou's goal at 42 seconds of the first period.

Video: FLA@DET: Athanasiou nets backhand in first minute


Save of the game

Howard's save on Barkov at 4:57 of the first period.

Video: FLA@DET: Howard denies Barkov with strong pad save

Highlight of the game

Nyquist's goal at 15:22 of the third period.

Video: FLA@DET: Zetterberg sets up Nyquist for 600th assist


They said it

"It isn't an ideal way to get ready for a game, but you have to be a pro about it and prepare yourself as well as you can." -- Panthers goaltender James Reimer on flying Friday


"I don't really look for shots, but I want to take opportunities when they come along. Right now, the pucks are going in, and that's good for me and good for the team." -- Red Wings forward Andreas Athanasiou

Need to know

Barkov's 10 shots were an NHL career high. He had seven against the Red Wings on Dec. 1, 2016 and against the Montreal Canadiens on Dec. 30, 2017. … Zetterberg, in his 1,040th game with Detroit, became the sixth Red Wings player to reach 600 assists. He needs five to pass Pavel Datsyuk for fifth place.


What's next

Panthers: At the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday (5 p.m. ET; FS-O, FS-F, NHL.TV)

Red Wings: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; FS-D, SUN NHL.TV)


Video: Howard, Athanasiou lead Red Wings past Panthers

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