Panthers look to extend win streak vs. visiting Red Wings

The Florida Panthers will try and extend their three-game winning streak when they play the Detroit Red Wings in Sunrise, Fla., on Thursday night.This will be the finale of the eight-game season series between the teams.Florida has won five of the first seven games, including 4-1 on Tuesday night. The Panthers are 12-2-1 in their past 15 games against Detroit.The Panthers have been winning despite injuries to some of their top players, and Tuesday’s victory pulled them into a first-place tie with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Central Division.Florida also became the third team in the NHL to hit the 50-point mark this season.The Panthers lost defenseman Aaron Ekblad for an expected 12 weeks when he had surgery on his left leg on Monday. The Panthers also have been playing without captain Aleksander Barkov and Patric Hornqvist.Tuesday, top-line right wing Anthony Duclair suffered an upper-body injury as he was tripped up by Detroit goalie Thomas Greiss and slammed hard into the end boards.Florida coach Joel Quenneville said Duclair would be out at least a week.Quenneville said Barkov could return during this homestand. After Detroit on Thursday, the Panthers host Columbus over the weekend.”We’re on a three-game winning streak now after a three-game losing streak, so it shows the resiliency of our team,” said Carter Verhaeghe, who scored twice for the Panthers on Tuesday.”Other guys have been stepping up. … Everyone’s playing more roles; guys who haven’t been playing are playing now and getting opportunity. It kind of adds a little more excitement to the lines. I think guys have done a great job rolling with it.”Detroit came to South Florida riding the momentum of a rare two-game sweep as the Red Wings took both games from the Columbus Blue Jackets this past weekend.But Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau scored 17 seconds into the game Tuesday, and the Panthers took a 3-0 lead by the first intermission.