‘Beat down’ Detroit Red Wings fighting frustration of close losses

Detroit Free Press

Helene St. James | Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Red Wings keep doing many things right, keep working hard, and still the points aren’t coming. It’s a frustrating time, a challenging time, and the saving grace is a schedule so crammed with games there isn’t much time for moping.

A weekend series against the Florida Panthers offers a chance to flush the frustration that bubbled after a 2-0 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday at Little Caesars Arena. It was a one-goal game until an empty netter in the final minute, marking the fifth straight loss that has been decided by two goals or less. That isn’t particularly satisfying to a team that is 4-11-3 and has the NHL’s second-fewest points at 11.

“This isn’t acceptable to me or anyone in that room,” alternate captain Luke Glendening said. “No one is in there preaching moral victories. But it is tough coming to the rink some days when you are getting beat down, beat down, beat down. So you have to look at the positives and try to find what we are doing well and how we can continue to build on that. But also continue to get better at the things we are not doing so well.

“I like the group of guys we have in the room. I think they’re honest. They hold each other accountable. We have to continue to get better. This isn’t acceptable to the group in there.”

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Special teams continues to be the single biggest area that needs bolstering, especially the power play. It went 0-for-3, and is 0-for-29 dating back 10 games. It did at least look dangerous Wednesday — something that was lacking in Monday’s 3-2 overtime loss to Chicago — with Filip Zadina ripping one-timers and Bobby Ryan threatening around the net, but still, it was the same result: Nothing in the net.

Coach Jeff Blashill suggested some players lack confidence offensively, but added there needs to be a sense of urgency on the power play.

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“We have to make sure we are continuing to improve as a hockey team,” he said. “We can’t get frustrated and take steps backward. Then all of a sudden you’re not a good team. We’ve been a good team here in the last little bit. We’ve got to continue to be a good team and find ways to win hockey games.

“It’s a challenge, but it’s up to each guy to fight through the frustration. It’s up to each guy to dig a little bit deeper.”

Glendening said it is “frustrating for sure when you are not getting rewarded. I know the guys who put up points on the team get frustrated. We just have to keep working through that.”

The Wings started the season 2-2, lost five players to COVID-19 for two weeks, then started a long road trip with an embarrassing loss at Tampa Bay. In the seven games since that blowout, they’ve largely played well, but have only five points to show for it. Back at it they go Friday, believing their hard work will start to yield rewards.

“It’s a challenge,” Blashill said. “There’s no doubt about it. I think the biggest thing is you can’t be satisfied with close losses, yet you have to look process and say, what did we do good and what can we do better, and that’s just the reality of it. I don’t want to be satisfied with the fact we’ve played fairly good, but we haven’t won enough games. So we have to find ways to win these tight games, as we’ve talked ad nauseam about.”

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. 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 AmazonBarnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail. 

 

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