A familiar problem is cropping up for the Red Wings.
They can’t score goals, an issue for quite a while now, and Tuesday it led to the Wings losing 2-0 in Nashville.
The Predators returned home after a franchise-record 16-day road trip. But never mind tallying all those miles, and rarely leaving their hotel room, Nashville appeared to be the more energized team most of the night.
The Wings put 31 shots on goaltender Juuse Saros — Darren Helm had two superb chances go awry — but the Wings failed on three power plays and extended their goal-less streak to 130 minutes, 55 seconds.
“I don’t think we’re generating enough,” forward Dylan Larkin said. “I don’t think we’re hard enough to play against, making teams defend. I don’t think we’re making it hard on the other team’s goalies (not) getting around the net and making him make saves.
“I’m not panicking but we all know we have to be better.”
The Wings have scored two or less goals in 22 of 33 games this season. It was the fifth time they’ve been shut out this season.
“We bogged ourselves down with poor puck execution and management,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “They’re one of the best forechecking teams in the league statistically, we have them as the best, and we did a poor job of being quick out of our zone. We slowed ourselves down and didn’t get pucks behind them.”
The power play didn’t aid the Wings in any way.
The unit failed to generate any momentum, along with any goals, and after a disallowed Nashville goal in the second (goalie interference) a Wings’ power play appeared to stall momentum.
“Not good enough,” said Blashill of the power play. “Lack of execution, we had entries where guys didn’t nearly do a good enough job on what they’re supposed to do, not nearly good enough.
“After the disallowed goal, we had some good shifts and momentum and we got the power play and it deflated us a little bit.”
Mikael Granlund (power play) ad Mathieu Olivier scored for Nashville (15-17-1), winners in four of their last five games, as the Predators attempt a final push for the playoffs.
Goaltender Thomas Greiss stopped 32 shots for the Wings (10-19-4), who’ve lost two consecutive games after possessing a modest two-game win streak.
Give credit, also, to the Predators for making life miserable for the Wings.
“They clogged it up the whole night, it’s the way they play,” Larkin said. “We have to find a way to get the puck by their defensemen and their wall there and put it in good spots so the next guy can get it and play in the offensive zone.
“They clog it up, it’s the way they play, and we have to make adjustments.”
Roman Josi, the reigning Norris Trophy (best defenseman) winner, quickly made an impact after missing the last seven games with injury. Josi’s shot from the top of the slot was tipped by Granlund on the power play at 13:59 of the first period, Granlund’s sixth goal, giving Nashville a 1-0 lead.
After both teams failed to capitalize on a power play early in the second period — Helm was denied by Saros on a shorthanded breakaway — the Predators extended their lead to 2-0 on Olivier’s goal.
The Predators blitzed the Wings down the ice, forward Yakov Trenin taking the puck around the net. Trenin’s shot was blocked by Greiss, but the puck went to Olivier on the side, and with Greiss without a stick, Olivier buried his second goal this season.
The Wings weren’t able to respond with any offensive push.
“We felt we were starting to learn how to win close games,” Larkin said. “We just have to give ourselves a chance and we haven’t the past couple of nights.”