Detroit Red Wings’ goal is to be more boring (and more sound). Here’s why

Detroit Free Press

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Detroit Red Wings come home for a couple games, which is a relief for a team that has gotten to the point they’re looking to boredom as a potential weapon.

The Wings have an evening game Saturday against the New Jersey Devils as Little Caesars Arena, which opened in October 2017, hosts its first Wings/Pistons same-day doubleheader. The Wings are 14-13-3 overall and 10-3-2 at home, leaving a 4-10-1 road record to show how they have struggled on the road.

“We have to figure it out,” captain Dylan Larkin said after Thursday’s 5-3 loss at Carolina. “We’re looking for answers. We need a spark. We need to get in a groove. But it’s just been really difficult.”

FIVE-RING CIRCUS: Detroit Red Wings’ Dylan Larkin on Olympics: ‘Would be unfortunate’ to get stuck in China

BIG BUCKS FOR ROBBY: What Fabbri’s extension shows about Steve Yzerman’s Wings rebuild

CARLOS MONARREZ: Tyler Bertuzzi should get vaccinated. Here’s why

The challenges of playing during COVID-19 are at the forefront, too: The Wings placed Robby Fabbri and Michael Rasmussen in protocol this week, two days after Tyler Bertuzzi and Marc Staal emerged from their quarantines. Every day this week has seen NHL teams deal with players testing positive: The Carolina Hurricanes lost six skaters to the virus, and had just 10 forwards and six defensemen, in addition to the usual two goaltenders, available Thursday.

“Human nature is we see what’s going on around the league, a couple guys on our team tested positive,” Larkin said. “Human nature is, ‘Jeez, when is it going to go through us and what’s going to happen?’ You worry about that, and the possibility of being out for 10 days and missing games.”

The Wings have taken comfort in home games, where they feed off the fans’ energy. But there’s another road game before Christmas, and two on the other side of the holiday, and the Wings are tired of being cast as grinches when they aren’t at LCA.

“We haven’t won enough on the road,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “We have to find ways to make sure you’re not giving up four on the road. You can’t give up that many goals and expect to win, because it’s really, really hard. We lost the special teams battle.

“Ultimately we just have to keep grinding and finding ways to dig in and make sure that the game is there to be had either way. We have to step up.”

[ How to order new Free Press book commemorating Wings’ 1997 Stanley Cup ]

One of the focal points has been figuring out a way to squeeze more momentum from goals. Larkin, Sam Gagner and Tyler Bertuzzi scored in Carolina, and Bertuzzi’s goal that made it 3-3 was part of a strong second period overall. Blashill said the Wings “need to score on some of the chances we had, making sure that next shift is really good.

“It’s just kind of that combination, though — what takes away momentum more than anything else is goals against. So you just can’t give up that many goals and expect to win consistently on the road. We have to do a better job of that, because they’re not all going to go in, and ultimately when you score three, three should be enough to win.”

The Wings last won on the road Nov. 30 at Boston, where they grinded out a 2-1 victory.

“We play so sound at home,” Larkin said. “On the road every night, it’s a different story. I feel like our effort is there on the road and at home.

“It’s playing sound. It’s playing a boring game when you have a lead or it’s a tight game, and then capitalizing on your opportunities, whether it’s the power play or a look or a big shift. We haven’t had that on the road. We had it in Boston where we played a boring game and frustrated their big guys. We need to find a way to simplify our game more on the road, and especially make sure we have a good start. We haven’t had a good start in the last three or four road games.”

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. 

Articles You May Like

Morning Skate: Red Wings vs Avalanche — Preview, How to Watch
Red Wings LIVE 3.14.23: Lucas Raymond
Life as a trans woman in the world of hockey
Red Wings recall 2021 first-round pick Edvinsson, Czarnik as injuries mount
Bally Sports owner files for bankruptcy; Tigers, Red Wings, Pistons games not yet affected

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *