Jiri Hudler scored the deciding goal in the shootout as Detroit clipped Florida, 2-1, at Joe Louis Arena.
After both sides scored in the first round, Hudler beat Scott Clemmensen with a high wrister. Mikael Samuelsson missed with a backhand, and, following Todd Bertuzzi's high chance, Kris Versteeg pushed his shot over the net to end the game.
Hudler also tallied in regulation for the Red Wings, who moved alone into fourth place in the Western Conference with 99 points. Chicago, which hosts Minnesota later Saturday, holds sixth place with 97.
Jimmy Howard ended with 27 saves.
Tomas Fleischmann recorded the lone goal for the Panthers, who moved three points ahead of idle Washington in the race for the Southeast Division.
Clemmensen finished with 31 stops.
Fleischmann netted the lone goal of the first period, beating Howard with 2:22 remaining on a slap shot from the bottom of the right circle.
Both goaltenders remained strong in the second stanza, halting a combined 17 shots.
Detroit finally evened the score with 5 1/2 minutes played in the third period, when Hudler's offering from the outer edge of the right circle changed direction off Panther forward John Madden's stick and sailed between Clemmensen's legs.
The Panthers got a break as Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey was given a major and game misconduct for elbowing Tomas Kopecky on the shift after the goal was scored, but a Dmitry Kulikov tripping minor within the lengthy advantage derailed any momentum.
The Red Wings improved to 8-2 in shootouts and the Panthers fell to 6-11...Detroit has won three of its last four home games against Florida, and improved to 6-1-1 with three ties all-time at the Joe against the Cats...Hudler has recorded a goal in four of the last five games.