Jeff Blashill: Terrible defense doomed Detroit Red Wings in Dallas
Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill, April 20, 2021.
Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press
The Detroit Red Wings reverted to bad habits, caught watching the puck rather than defending.
The Dallas Stars took command of Tuesday’s game at American Airlines Center from the start, running up the score in the second of four straight meetings this week. One night after pushing last season’s Stanley Cup runner-up to a shootout, the Wings were blown out, 5-2.
Captain Dylan Larkin, who scored with less than four minutes to play, was on the bench in pain in the last minute of the game.
MONDAY NIGHT: Red Wings fall short in shootout, 3-2, in Dallas
It was a rough night for the Wings (16-24-7), who had been playing well defensively. Larkin tried to spark something with a tussle at the end of the second period but it didn’t work. When he was called for high-sticking midway through the third period, the Wings had one shot on net after the second intermission.
Dallas’ Blake Comeau found an empty net with 53 seconds to play for the final score.
Jonathan Bernier didn’t finish the game, pulled in a mercy move after being left exposed by teammates and lit up four times on 12 shots. Thomas Greiss was minding the net when Valtteri Filppula finished a pass from Jakub Vrana five minutes into the second period. That was Vrana’s second point in three games since joining the Wings at the trade deadline.
The teams meet again Thursday in Detroit.
The puck took a funny bounce on the first goal; Marc Staal couldn’t corral it at his blue line; instead the puck bounced into the air. Troy Stecher took a swipe at it as it fell, but Tanner Kero had the better stick work and made it 1-0. The second goal came two minutes later — Dennis Cholowski lost a puck battle behind the net to Jason Dickinson; Dickinson sent the puck out front, where Jason Robertson had time and space to swoop in and score his 14th goal of the season. For Dallas’ third goal, Robertson again was left alone again to pick up an assist, finding Joe Pavelski alone by the right goalpost for a 3-0 lead at 14:17.
After getting it handed to them in the first period, the Wings didn’t play much better to start the second. Andrew Cogliano tested Bernier on a breakaway early on, and the Wings fell behind 4-0 at 3:36 when Richard Panik and Vladislav Namestnikov both quit giving chase to Jamie Oleksiak coming down the midde, giving him room to finish a pass. The Wings went on a power play at 17:13, when it was 4-1, and managed only one shot on Jake Oettinger.
Vrana returns, Svechnikov sits
Vrana returned to the lineup after missing Monday’s game because of non-COVID illness. The Wings opted to go with 11 forwards, and that left Evgeny Svechnikov sitting out despite setting up the Wings’ first goal Monday. Robby Fabbri missed a ninth straight game with an undisclosed injury. Joe Veleno has been on the trip, and is expected to appear in the lineup later this week.