They turn their attention to a weekend series playing the Tampa Bay Lightning at home on Saturday and at the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday. The Lightning have lost six of eight, but they’re the defending Stanley Cup champions and in position to make the playoffs. The Wings (26-31-7) are trying to finish the season with a measure of dignity after losing eight of 10.
“If we’re going to be a good team next year and the coming years, we have to find a way to win on the road and we have to find a way to start games better,” Larkin said after losing 5-2 at the New York Islanders on Thursday. “We’re young, so we have to learn, and now is the time to learn, so it doesn’t happen next year.”
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Blashill and Larkin had differing opinions on how the Wings performed in the first period: They gave up a goal nine seconds in and trailed 2-0 after 20 minutes, but they also had a 13-5 advantage in shots.
“They drop the puck and they go down and score,” Larkin said. “I don’t have much to say. We just weren’t ready to play, and we have to show up and be ready to play.
“We’ve got 59 more minutes to go. Let’s play hockey. It was 1-0. We’ve got to play our game and not worry about what’s in the past. It’s a very frustrating start. It’s not what we were looking for at all. We didn’t really show up until the third period.”
Blashill: “I didn’t think the first in totality was bad.”
Just in a recent stretch, the Wings didn’t start well at Seattle, at Edmonton, at Calgary, at home against Minnesota, or in the Arizona disaster. Both Greiss and Alex Nedeljkovic have gone through rough patches, though they’ve also delivered solid performances that were wasted by teammates (Greiss in Calgary, Nedeljkovic in Seattle).
The Wings are in this together, and they’re sliding down the standings before the watchful eyes of their boss, general manager Steve Yzerman. They haven’t won consecutive games since mid-February, and have struggled to put together complete performances.
“We have to find a way to string together a couple Ws but it’s not easy with the schedule we have ahead of us,” Blashill said. “We’re taking it game-by-game.”
Contact Helene St. James at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.