Red Wings Crush Panthers

The last time coach Terry Murray faced the Detroit Red Wings, they were celebrating the Stanley Cup after sweeping Murray's Philadelphia team in the 1997 Finals.

Save for the actual Cup hoisting, things didn't look much different with Murray behind a different bench Wednesday night.

Tomas Holmstrom scored two power-play goals and Nicklas Lidstrom had a goal and two assists as the Red Wings beat the Florida Panthers 7-2.

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  • "This is a heck of a lesson here tonight as to where we need to get to," said Murray, let go by the Flyers after that 1997 sweep and hired by the Panthers this summer.

    Sergei Fedorov, Darren McCarty, Steve Yzerman and Kirk Maltby also scored as the Red Wings (6-2-0) won for the second time in three games since Scotty Bowman returned as coach.

    Bowman, the NHL's winningest coach with 1,059 victories, missed the season's first five games as he recuperated from off-season angioplasty and surgery to replace his left knee.

    The Red Wings' seven goals were a season high and the most given up by the Panthers since a 7-3 loss to Philadelphia last April 16, their final game at Miami Arena.

    "We got some breaks, got some early tips and there was nothing (goaltender) Sean Burke could do," said Detroit's Brendan Shanahan, who had three assists. "That was a tough start for him, but it was good for us."

    Burke was pulled after just 16:08, having given up three goals on six shots. Kirk McLean was only slightly better, as Detroit improved its lead to 6-0 by midwathrough the second period.

    Radek Dvorak and Jaroslav Spacek scored for Florida (2-2-3), which had its second consecutive poor outing at home. The Panthers lost 5-0 to Vancouver last Friday.

    "The Panthers did not play as bad as the score looked," Bowman said. "We capitalized in front of the net. It seemed like everything we tipped went right in the corner (of the net)."

    Detroit needed just 3:35 to jump in front, scoring five seconds into the first Florida penalty. With Robert Svehla in the box for roughing, Holmstrom tipped home Brendan Shanahan's shot from the left point at 3:35. The assist extended Shanahan's point-scoring streak to seven games.

    Fedorov gave Detroit a 2-0 lead at 13:41 with his 250th career goal. Doug Brown jumped on a giveaway by Oleg Kvasha in the neutral zone and fired coming over the blue line, with Fedorov redirecting it past Burke.

    Holmstrom scored another power-play goal at 16:08, winning a scramble in front of the Florida net. The Panthers had entered the game with the NHL's third-best penalty-killing unit, giving up just two goals in 33 situations before Wednesday.

    McCarty scored 39 seconds into the second period on another goalmouth scramble, Yzerman powered up the left side to score at 4:19 and Lidstrom notched his first of the season off a faceoff at 8:47 as boos rained down at the new National Car Rental Center.

    Murray said he didn't think his young lineup was intimidated by the Red Wings, but he did sense "a little bit of awe, maybe."

    "After we get down a couple of goals, it was that sense that, `They're so much faster and execute so much better that I just don't know how I'm going to go out and get the job done against them,"' he said. "That's a player that's afraid to make a mistake and a team that's afraid to make a mistake."

    Dvorak gave the crowd of 19,163 something to cheer about at 14:35, deflecting a high shot from Gord Murphy into the net and ending a shutout stretch of 107:37 for Detroit's Chris Osgood.

    Spacek added a power-play goal at 5:00 of the third period, ending a streak of 31 consecutive Detroit penalty kills.

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