Ted Kulfan | The Detroit News
Detroit – Not surprisingly, the Red Wings weren’t very good on the power play Wednesday against Chicago.
And, not surprisingly, it cost them another game.
But it wasn’t just the power play, alone. The Wings struggled for any kind of offense, losing 2-0 to the surprising Blackhawks.
Chicago’s Philipp Kurashev scored a beautiful power play in the second period, Alex DeBrincat (Farmington) had an empty net goal, and goaltender Kevin Lankinen stopped 29 Wings shots as the Blackhawks swept the two-game series.
The Wings swarmed Lankinen in the third period, but the rookie goaltender was sharp and poised in net.
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“Our effort in the third period was good, a lot of pucks around the net,” forward Luke Glendening said. “We just have to break through. We’re playing a tight game. We have to find a way to score on our (power play) chances, and on 5-on-5 as well.”
Alex DeBrincat (Farmington) scored an empty net goal with 57.5 seconds left in regulation time, icing the Chicago (9-5-4) victory, DeBrincat’s ninth goal.
Lankinen recorded his third consecutive victory over the Wings this season, and the Wings have lost all four games to Chicago this season.
The Wings fell to 4-11-3, and are struggling to put every facet together to earn a victory. And moral victories aren’t nearly good enough.
“We’re not getting results and I’m not here to preach about moral victories, this is a results-driven league,” Glendening said. “Our compete level has been high, there’s been close games, but special teams has to get better, both penalty kill and the power play.
“This isn’t acceptable to me or anyone in this room. We’ve got a lot of guys who’ve come from other teams, and guys who’ve been around here, and no one in there is preaching moral victories”
The Wings’ power play didn’t capitalize on three power play attempts, continuing a recent dry spell that’s been mind-boggling.
The numbers are pretty incredible. The Wings are 4-for-56 on the power play this season, and they haven’t scored a power play goal in 10 games, since Jan. 28 in Dallas.
They’re 0-for-29 in that span on the power play.
Still, the Wings were dangerous on their final power plays Wednesday, with Filip Zadina and Dylan Larkin both getting scoring opportunities, but the Wings couldn’t find that elusive goal.
“We created chaos,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “Our power play, that unit in particular, the Larkin unit, they had two our best power plays of the groups.”
Be it power play or even strength, the Wings have struggled to score goals and confidence could be wavering.
“We have a lot of guys that haven’t produced the number of points that they want,” Blashill said. “Certainly some of those guys, there’s been a little bit of wavering of confidence and that’s the reality. That happens.”
Chicago didn’t have a problem scoring with the man advantage on Kurashev’s goal.
The Chicago rookie took an outlet pass from Duncan Keith, skated through and around the four Wings’ penalty killers, and tucked the puck through the legs of goaltender Jonathan Bernier.
The only reason the Wings stayed as close as they did was because of Bernier, who stopped 24 shots. He was sharp throughout the evening, frustrating the Blackhawks on numerous opportunities.
“Our goalie was actually better than their goalie, our goalie had to be better during the course of the game,” Blashill said. “We didn’t manage the puck in the neutral zone the first two periods and we didn’t play terrible, but that’s the most Grade A chance we’ve given up in a few games.
“I didn’t think it (team defense) was as good, and a little bit of that has to do with (Chicago star forward Patrick) Kane, he took it to another level, and he and DeBrincat, they’re both special players and they took it to another level. We weren’t as sharp defensively. We gave up more Grade A chances than we have in the past (six or seven games).”
The losses are beginning to mount for the Wings, who take on division leading Florida in a two-game series this weekend.
“It’s frustrating for sure when you’re not getting rewarded (with victories),” Glendening said. “We just have to keep working through that.”