| Detroit Free Press
Dylan Larkin on Red Wings loss at Chicago: We weren’t good enough
Dylan Larkin interview after Red Wings’ 6-2 loss at Chicago. Jan. 24, 2021
Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press
The Detroit Red Wings flunked their first road test of the season, and now face having to redeem themselves against the Stanley Cup runner-up.
Their Sunday matinee in Chicago was ugly to watch, ending with a 6-2 loss to the Blackhawks. Other than a pair of power play goals from Tyler Bertuzzi there was nothing to like: The Wings lacked energy, blew defensive coverage, and looked little like the team that had injected hope for something better through the first two series of the season.
Granted they have a handful of regulars in COVID protocol, but that doesn’t excuse others from turning in sickly performances.
“Guys have to raise their games,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “I would say it starts with the guys that are regulars, who have to play at a higher level when you are missing other players. And guys that step into opportunities have to play at a higher level. I think too many of the first part of that, the regulars, haven’t raised their game. We are missing a number of guys so other guys have to raise their game. We haven’t had enough of that yet.”
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Anthony Mantha had a rough game — he stole the puck off Dylan Strome only to blindly send it straight to Connor Murphy, who made it 3-1 late in the second period. Then Mantha stood by the net and watched as Mattias Janmark tapped in a pass from Patrick Kane, who’d been left alone by Vladislav Namestnikov to waltz up the left flank with the puck. Luke Glendening, usually defensively sound, was a minus-3 and was serving time for a careless penalty when Pius Suter scored the second of his three goals. Jonathan Bernier deserved no blame; his teammates offered no support.
To lose 4-1 at Chicago Friday was one thing, to not respond better on Sunday in a nationally televised game was unseemly.
“We left our goaltender out to dry and lost battles,” captain Dylan Larkin said after earning two assists. “It was a quiet building. There was no talk. We had an opportunity against a team we thought we could beat twice and we didn’t show up. We have to turn it around before we go to Dallas or else it’s going to snowball. They are a good team waiting for us down there and we need to figure it out fast.”
The Wings played a much better second period, but then came the giveaway, and it was 4-1 on Janmark’s goal a minute into the third period.
“We had a good second and they picked up the physicality and started laying the body on us,” Larkin said. “They scored that goal, which is what it is. We have to have guys go out there and play physical, play like they want to be here.
“They have some small, skilled forwards and we just let them do what they wanted.”
Five Wings — Robby Fabbri, Filip Zadina, Sam Gagner, Adam Erne and Jon Merrill — are in COVID protocol. That’s the same number at which the Carolina Hurricanes had games postponed. But even with a patched lineup the Wings could have shown a higher level of competitiveness, could have made it hard on the Blackhawks.
“No. 1, we didn’t do a good enough job of putting pucks in behind people and being on the same page that way, and No. 2, I just though we were way too loose defensively,” Blashill said. “We have to be a team that does it way better in terms of defending.
“We have to go and play way better. From an individual standpoint, both games in Chicago we didn’t have enough guys going. We need guys going at a higher level.”
The Wings had reason to feel good about themselves after splitting the first two series of the season. They looked good in their victories, and didn’t collapse in either loss. But Sunday they trailed by two goals after 10 minutes, gave away the momentum they built in the second period, and then gave away the game. It was too similar to last season, and that’s a disaster they’re determined to avoid reliving.
“If we do that in Dallas, if we don’t play hard, if we don’t play physical, if we’re not engaged in battles, it’s not going to go well,” Larkin said. “We have to find a way to stick together and when things don’t go well, keep it simple and finish their D.”
Why Detroit Red Wings lost at Chicago, 6-2: Not enough guys going
Jeff Blashill talks after Red Wings lose, 6-2, at Chicago. Jan. 24, 2021.
Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press
Contact Helene St. James at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.