By Jeff O'Brien

Givani Smith had a goal and an assist as Detroit Red Wings won for the first time in nine games, beating the Florida Panthers 4-1 on Sunday.

Marc Staal scored for the first time with Detroit, Robby Fabbri and Vladislav Namestnikov added goals and Troy Stecher had two assists. Goaltender Thomas Greiss stopped 36 shots.

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DETROIT, MICHIGAN – JANUARY 30: Thomas Greiss #29 of the Detroit Red Wings makes a third period save while playing the Florida Panthers at Little Caesars Arena on January 30, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

“Losing is never fun. We made some steps last game against Tampa that we carried over into tonight right off the hop and I think the biggest thing was we kept it going for 60 minutes,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. “That’s the biggest thing. That’s how we’re going to win games and beat teams is to outwork them, out will them and we proved that tonight.”

Greiss, who moved to 1-7-2, stopped a three-on-one Florida break with the Red Wings ahead 2-1 in the third period.

“He’s done that a lot this year … we just haven’t been able to capitalize off a great save like that, sort of nice to get one tonight,” Blashill said.

Alex Wennberg scored for the Panthers. Florida (6-1-2) became the last NHL team to lose in regulation.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – JANUARY 30: Anthony Duclair #91 of the Florida Panthers battles for the puck with Troy Stecher #70 of the Detroit Red Wings during the first period at Little Caesars Arena on January 30, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Acquired from the New York Rangers in a trade last September after a 13-year career, Staal put Detroit up 1-0 at 2:58 of the second period with his backhander in close. Sam Gagner notched his first assist with the Red Wings on the goal.

Blashill made the decision to scratch Anthony Mantha, but Smith stepped up with a big goal.

Bobby Ryan’s steal near goaltender Chris Driedger set up Smith’s score at 17:02 for a 2-0 lead.

“The only thing I can really do is every time I’m in the lineup, just to work my hardest, work my best, and hopefully it can pay off in the long run,” Smith said.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – JANUARY 30: Dylan Larkin #71 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Florida Panthers at Little Caesars Arena on January 30, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Trailing to begin the third period for the first time this season, the Panthers got within a goal at 2:09 when Wennberg scored his first for Florida on a deflection.

“(It was good) to get this first one off and build off that and get some confidence,” said Wennberg, a free-agent acquisition who previously played for Columbus.

Fabbri’s second goal at 9:11 regained Detroit’s two-goal lead.

Greiss’ big stop on the three-on-one was a turning point in the game.

“We had a three-on-one with all the right guys on the ice with it, and the next thing you know it’s 3-1 instead of 2-2,” Florida coach Joel Quenneville said.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – JANUARY 30: Vladislav Namestnikov #92 of the Detroit Red Wings battles with Eetu Luostarinen #27 of the Florida Panthers at Little Caesars Arena on January 30, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

FLORIDA FIRST

Newcomer Mason Marchment was recalled from the taxi squad and made his debut for the Panthers by registering 7:56 of ice time and being minus-1.

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After getting into four games for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season, Marchment played left wing on the fourth line with right wing Noel Acciari and center Juho Lammikko.

BIG HITS

The aggressive play was intense over the first 20 minutes, and Florida’s Radko Gudas delivered the biggest on Luke Glendening, who stayed down on the ice for a couple of minutes along the sideboards.

The training staff assisted Glendening off the ice and into the dressing room after the hard contact, and the forward didn’t return.

ON THE MEND

Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi was injured when Florida visited Detroit last week and is expected to miss a few more games.

The left-wing suffered an upper-body injury when the teams met last Saturday and didn’t play the next day’s contest. Sunday marked his fourth straight game out of the club’s lineup.

NUMBERS GAME

The Panthers drew 3,706 fans for the Super Bowl Sunday matinee contest.

UP NEXT

The two clubs conclude their two-game series on Tuesday.

 

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