DETROIT – The Wings penalty kill has been outstanding over the last three games.
Make that four.
The unit killed off all six of Florida’s power play chances Sunday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena, including a five-minute major early in the third period.
“Our penalty kill was outstanding,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said after the game. “It was really good. It gave us an opportunity to win the game.”
The Panthers had just three shots on goal with the man advantage.
“We’re not really allowing teams to get set up, which is key on penalty kill,” Jimmy Howard said.
The Wings’ biggest kill perhaps came after they had just tied the game early in the third period. Kyle Quincey was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for elbowing for Wing Tomas Kopecky.
“Yeah, that was a big kill for sure,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “It was right after we scored the tying goal, so it was good, but it was nice we also got a 4-on-4 break right there in the middle, too, so the PK guys could rest a little bit.”
“I thought the D played real well, kept it short,” Nicklas Lidstrom said. “The forwards were aggressive at the right moments. I think we were standing up at the blue line, just giving them a hard time entering our zone and I think that was key to winning this game for us.”
Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov was sent off for tripping almost two minutes into the five-minute power play.
“Anytime you face a five-minute penalty and you kill that off, I think the momentum swings the other way, and I think that happened,” Florida coach Kevin Dineen said.
The Wings have killed off 15 straight power plays over the last four games. Babcock credits a lot of that to having Jonathan Ericsson back in the lineup.
“He gets the puck out every time he has it,” Babcock said. “He’s a huge man. He eats up space. I think he’s made a night and day difference and having Howie back helps out too. I thought our neutral penalty kill was outstanding.”