For a few brief moments last week, the Detroit Red Wings looked like a team finally starting to get it.
- Opportunistic offense.
- Sound, structural defense.
- Competent goaltending.
The three elements led to a season-high, three-game winning streak. With a favorable closing schedule, the Red Wings had a chance, with the playoffs mathematically still possible but unlikely, to finish strong and maybe flirt with a .500 record.
That would have been quite a jump for the NHL’s worst team – by far – last season.
Then, in coach Jeff Blashill’s words, they skated out on the power play Saturday and played like “crap.”
Red Wings Power-less on PP
The Red Wings, who also have been called for three too-many-men-on-the-ice penalties the past two games, went 0-for-6 with the man-advantage during Saturday’s 4-0 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.
“In the end, it comes down to our power play not being nearly good enough,” Blashill said via Red Wings TV. “It’s crap. It’s not good hockey.”
And it better improve. In a hurry.
The Red Wings (16-24-4) and host Stars (17-14-12) open a four-game series tonight at American Airlines Center.
There is still a lot Detroit can accomplish over the remaining 10 matches.
Starting with self-respect.
“Dumb mistakes in my opinion (led to) giveaway goals,” Blashill said.
Two of the mistakes Blashill referred to were turnovers by Troy Stecher, leading to Patrick Kane’s goal with 21 seconds left in the first period Saturday, and by Dylan Larkin, leading to Alex DeBrincat’s second-period marker.
Those lapses and failing to score on six first-period, power-play minutes led the Red Wings to be blanked for the fifth time this season.
With travel and a rigorous closing schedule over the next few weeks, practice time is limited but against the playoff-hungry Stars, if they don’t clean up their game, you know exactly what will be beaten out of them.