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Red Wings-Panthers Preview @NHLdotcom
Red Wings-Panthers Preview

GAME: Detroit Red Wings (21-9-2) at Florida Panthers (10-18-4).

TIME: Thursday, 8 p.m. EST.

The Detroit Red Wings look to continue their dominance of the Florida Panthers when the teams meet at the BankAtlantic Center.

The Red Wings have seven wins and five ties in 12 meetings with Florida since Dec. 1, 1996 for their longest active unbeaten streak against any opponent.

Detroit saw one of its streaks end Tuesday in Atlanta as it suffered its first-ever loss to the Thrashers, 7-6. Brendan Shanahan had a goal and four assists for the Red Wings, who rallied from a four-goal third-period deficit before losing on Patrik Stefan's goal with 4:11 left.

Shanahan had his first four-assist game since Jan. 26, 1993 against the Ottawa Senators.

"It was his 1,300th game and he gets five points, so that shows you where he's at," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said of Shanahan. "He was sick tonight. He should be sick more often."

The Red Wings scored four power-play goals in eight opportunities Tuesday, improving their percentage with the man advantage to 36.2 (17-of-47) over the last eight games.

Florida snapped a four-game losing streak with a 7-3 victory Tuesday over the Nashville Predators. It was the first seven-goal game for the Panthers since a 7-5 win against Montreal on Jan. 21, 2002.

Nathan Horton had his first career hat trick to lead the Panthers. He has seven goals in seven games after missing 10 with a sprained knee.

"It's a pretty nice feeling," said Horton. "I felt like there was no one on me. I just tried to get it to the net and it went in every time."

Horton has a team-high 14 goals in 22 games, matching his output in 55 games during his rookie season in 2003-04.

"I think he's a great kid with a lot of talent," Florida coach Jacques Martin said. "It's nice for him to have some reward for his hard work."

Goalie Roberto Luongo stopped 31 shots to earn his first win against Nashville in seven career games. He is 0-4-1 lifetime against the Red Wings.

STANDINGS (through Dec. 13): Red Wings - 44 points, 1st place, Central Division. Panthers - 24 points, 4th place, 16 PB, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Red Wings - Shanahan, 18 goals; Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom, 24 assists; Datsyuk, 36 points; Chris Chelios, 62 PIM. Panthers - Horton, 14 goals; Olli Jokinen, 17 assists, 29 points and 44 PIM; Jokinen, 44 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Dec. 14): Red Wings - Power play: 26.8 percent (50 for 186), 1st in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.6 percent (165 for 195), 5th. Panthers - Power play: 14.8 percent (25 for 168), 24th (tied). Penalty killing: 79.4 percent (162 for 204), 26th.

GOALTENDERS: Red Wings - Chris Osgood (7-3-2, 0 SO, 3.10 GAA); Jimmy Howard (1-2-0, 0, 2.99). Panthers - Luongo (10-14-4, 2, 3.30); Jamie McLennan (0-4-0, 0, 3.10).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Red Wings, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Dec. 15, 2003; Red Wings, 4-1. At Detroit, Datsyuk had a goal and an assist for the Red Wings, who put 40 shots on net to Florida's 22.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Red Wings - 10-4-1 on the road; Panthers - 8-6-1 at home.

Associated Press
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