SUNRISE - The Red Wings understand they have to have division success if they want to be a good team.
The Florida Panthers represent another opportunity for the Wings, who are currently 1-4-0 within the Atlantic Division. The Panthers are 1-2-0.
However, the Wings are trying to snap out of a six-game losing streak (0-5-1) while the Panthers are coming off a dominating 8-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks two nights ago.
The Panthers have three players with double-digit points in Jonathan Huberdeau (3-7-10), Aleksander Barkov (3-7-10) and Vincent Trocheck (4-6-10).
"They got two real, real good lines," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said before the game. "That's not to take away from the other lines but obviously the Barkov line, I had a chance to see (Evgenii) Dadonov up front in the world championships last year, he was excellent. Excellent power play guy. Hugo's a real good player and the Trocheck line, Trocheck's one of the better young players in the league. Those two lines present big-time challenges. I've talked to people that have played Florida, they think they're one of the better teams in our division.
"So we got a challenge tonight. But that's every night in the league, you got to go out, you got to play great hockey. Usually it ends up tied in the third, then you got to make a play. You got to find a way to make a play that puts you on the right side of that result."
Trocheck, who played Little Caesars Amateur Hockey, has had plenty of success against the Wings, recording six goals and four assists in 11 games, including four goals and five points in five games at BB&T Center.
Barkov has four goals and six assists in 14 games against the Wings, including three goals and six assists in nine games at BB&T Center.
With Roberto Luongo on injured reserve, James Reimer will get the start. In eight games against the Wings, Reimer is 2-3-1 with a 2.69 goals-against average and .914 save percentage.
One area where the Panthers might be vulnerable is the penalty kill, where they rank 30th in the league at 72.2 percent.
"I think when we're playing our best, we're a pressure team and when you pressure people, you cause mistakes," Blashill said. "So we got to make sure that our pressure's heavy, we got to make sure that we're creating opportunities off the forecheck. We got to find a way to more offense. It's there to be had. We got to make sure that we're executing when we get those opportunities.
"Our power play's got to be better than it was the other night, just from a retrieval standpoint. We had about 12 unforced errors, you can't have unforced errors on the power play. You got to know where your guys are at on the retrievals, you got to make sure they go to the right spots so that it's automatic where the retrievals are. You're not always going to score on the power play but you can't have 12 unforced errors."
WESTERN CONNECTION: The Panthers recalled center Chase Balisy Friday and he could make his NHL debut against the Wings.
Balisy played two seasons for the US NTDP in Ann Arbor and four seasons at Western Michigan, where his coach was Blashill during the 2010-11 season.
"Chase was one of my first recruits to Western," Blashill said. "When I got the job, he was still uncommitted at the US National Team and he came over, I think it was a Sunday, and spent the day with me and ended up committing. I think it helped change the program there at Western. He's a really smart, really, really good, solid hockey player. Good two-way player, real good with the puck, so I'm pumped for him to be able to get an opportunity."
FRK ON FOURTH LINE: The challenge for Martin Frk now is how to make an impact in limited minutes on the fourth line, where he will play with Luke Glendening and Scott Wilson.
"The thing with Marty, it's all based on confidence and when Marty's got lots of confidence, he plays real good," Blashill said. "Sometimes when you get moved down a line, you lose some of that confidence and him and I had a conversation yesterday. Mitch Marner plays on the fourth line in Toronto, he's a threat every time he's on the ice so it gives you four lines that have threats. "
Marty can do the same thing, he can be a threat every time he's on the ice and then carry that confidence forward to the power play. He can be impactful on the power play for sure. He's just got to make sure that he enjoys every minute of hockey. Sometimes the stress can beat you down a little bit. Let's just enjoy it. He plays in the NHL, let's enjoy and go out and use the abilities that he has."
Frk is tied with Tomas Tatar for second on the team with three goals but all three of Frk's were scored in the team's first four games.
Captain Henrik Zetterberg, Anthony Mantha and Frans Nielsen lead the Wings with four goals apiece.