Detroit Red Wings sluggish again vs. Montreal Canadiens in 3-0 shutout

Detroit Free Press

Considering not even two weeks had passed since they were shown the door in Montreal, the Detroit Red Wings didn’t look like they had learned a thing.

They fell behind early Tuesday at Bell Centre, and deservedly so as they struggled to match the Canadiens’ energy.

The Wings settled down, but they never really threatened to come back like they have in other games this season. The result was a 3-0 loss.

“They were better than us from the first shift all the way to the last shift,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “They played like it was a playoff game; we played like it was an exhibition game.

“That isn’t even close to what we need to do to be successful. That wasn’t even in the hemisphere of what we need to do.”

The Wings pulled Alex Nedeljkovic with three minutes to play, and the Canadiens took advantage when Brendan Gallagher scored into the empty net. It’s only the second time this season the Wings (4-4-2) have been shut out.

“It’s a tough building to play in,” Danny DeKeyser said. “It’s a momentum building. They came out from the first shift tilting the ice. We weren’t able to push back at all.”

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Neither Dylan Larkin nor Tyler Bertuzzi were available. The Canadiens, dealing with injuries of their own, lost Jonathan Drouin in the first period after he was hit by teammate Brett Kulak’s rising wrist shot and went to the hospital for evaluation.

Bertuzzi, at the very least, is expected to rejoin the lineup Thursday at Boston.

Remember the last time

The Wings lost 6-1 when they visited Montreal on Oct. 23. Blashill cautioned Monday the Wings should remember that, but it didn’t seem they did. The Canadiens ran roughshod over the Wings as soon as the puck dropped, attacking in waves. Nedeljkovic lasted a little more than two minutes before the barrage got to him, with Nick Suzuki scoring his first goal of the season. Halfway through the period it was 2-0 when the Wings mishandled the puck in Montreal’s zone and Suzuki found Josh Anderson, who fired a shot glove side on Nedeljkovic.

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Remember the first period

Nedeljkovic made 10 saves in the first period to contain the damage to a two-goal deficit. His teammates didn’t come out with much of a response in the second period, as they were outshot, 7-1. Two consecutive power plays didn’t yield much, other than Moritz Seider just missing the net on a slap shot.

Remember who you’re with

With Larkin attending to a personal matter and Bertuzzi unavailable because his unvaccinated status means he cannot cross the border, Michael Rasmussen moved up to the top line to center Lucas Raymond and Robby Fabbri. Adam Erne returned after a blocked shot sidelined him one game and was put with Pius Suter and Filip Zadina. Joe Veleno, who made his debut Saturday, centered the third line between Vladislav Namestnikov and Sam Gagner and Mitchell Stephens centered the fourth line between Carter Rowney and Givani Smith.

Contact Helene St. James at 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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