Recap: Red Wings Embarrassed 11-2 in Pittsburgh

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The Detroit Red Wings headed out to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins Sunday evening. In what was a far much worse looking game than anticipated, Detroit were embarrassed 11-2 for their third straight loss. Keeping things short and sweet, here are some general takeaways from this blowout loss.

Offense

Detroit’s offense was outshooting the Penguins after the first (13-8) and second (26-20) periods but their shots were just missing the mark. Shots were even at 35 each by the end of the game as the Penguins walked away with eleven goals and the Red Wings scored two. Dylan Larkin got the Red Wings on the board during the second period on a goal assisted by Lucas Raymond and Jakub Vrana- a well-needed marker for Detroit. The final goal of the game for Detroit was scored by Jakub Vrana just seven minutes after the Larkin goal which made it a 6-2 game.

Defense

Not all blame for the number of goals scored can be placed on the goaltenders… The Red Wings defense was not giving Alex Nedeljkovic or Calvin Pickard any help with the number of shots that they faced. The issue of allowing power play goals lives on for the Wings as the Penguins had six power play opportunities and were able to score on three of them. Just a lot of the same old issues showed up yet again, although they had been less prevalent in Saturday’s game against Tampa Bay. It seemed as if the defense was just not quick enough to keep up with the Penguins offense at times and they were getting burned, but is it really shocking that the Detroit defense had a bad game?

Goaltending

Another brutal game for the Red Wings goaltenders all around. Calvin Pickard replaced Alex Nedeljkovic in net after the fifth goal of the game was allowed- his third appearance in a REd Wings uniform this season. Pickard, unfortunately, suffered an injury of sorts five minutes into the third period which called for Nedeljkovic being put back in net- essentially the third double goalie pull of the season for Detroit, although this one was more reasonable.

Nedeljkovic allowed seven goals while Pickard allowed the other four. Eleven goals on 35 shots between two goaltenders is just ugly no matter how you look at it. To break things down: there were two goals in the first, five in the second, and four in the third. Alex Nedeljkovic had his lowest save percentage of the season with a .682 while Pickard had a .692 SV%- just a terrible night for both goalies. Nedeljkovic had been on a streak of very good games coming into his second consecutive start, but unfortunately was in the gutter almost immediately.

Overall

Games like this cannot keep happening for the Red Wings and there is a serious change that needs to be made regarding Jeff Blashill on top of the roster rebuilding. This is the second game of the season in which the Red Wings have given up 10 or more goals which is nearly unbelievable to see. The 11 goals is the most the Red Wings have given up in one game since 1988.  The Red Wings have the most goals against in the league with a whopping 253 with 77 of those goals being scored within the last 15 games. It is understandable that an actively rebuilding team will have bad games but these 5+ goal games have become embarrassing since they are a common occurrence.

The Red Wings will host the New York Rangers at LCA on Wednesday, March 30th and have a few days to rest up after two back-to-back rigorous games. Detroit has a 1-0 record against the Rangers this season and they are looking to both continue this winning record as well as finally break their losing streak. In a post-game interview Sunday, captain Dylan Larkin was quoted as saying “It’s not acceptable. It’s not enough. We can’t play like that.” Hopefully, a blowout of this scale will fire the Wings up enough to come out energetic and hungry on Wednesday to celebrate a win at LCA.

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