Detroit Red Wings’ Derek Lalonde: ‘We’re not talented enough to lull through games’

Detroit Free Press

Derek Lalonde sounded like he would like to eliminate days off, and barring that — which he can’t do — at the very least he wants the Detroit Red Wings to show they learned something.

They turn their eyes to redemption in Boston after being shown up on home ice Tuesday, when the New Jersey Devils ran away with a 6-2 victory at Little Caesars Arena. It was 4-1 after 25 minutes, and the Wings do not have the ability to overcome such a deficit.

“The message on the bench was, we need one before the end of the period,” coach Derek Lalonde said. “You saw what 4-2 did for us in the third — it gave us a legit chance. We almost got that third right after.

“It just wasn’t there — managing the game, puck play — it was the complete opposite of how we looked the other day. Huge lesson learned in that we are what we are, and if we play the right way, we can be successful. But we are just not talented enough to lull our ways through games and expect to get outcomes.”

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The Wings (3-1-2) suffered their first regulation loss. Lalonde joked — or maybe he wasn’t — that players had heard a bit too much about getting points in five straight games, and had bought into being better than they are.

“We’re off to this 3-0-2 start,” Lalonde said. “They are listening to you guys tell us how good we are. My message (is) to pump the brakes a little bit.

“Maybe they thought it was going to be a little easier. And then we just got away from our game — turnover, turnover. Slow. Now they’re beating us to races. We’ve had a good start, but this is a good lesson: We are not good enough to have lapses in our game, to get away from what makes us successful.”

Dylan Larkin, who had the first goal, pointed to the team’s youth, and integration.

“We have a lot of young players in our locker room and a lot of new guys are still trying to mesh as a team,” he said. “When we don’t have our best, we have to find much better than that. How we move on is, we have Boston coming up here pretty quick and that’s a huge game for us. Division game. We’re going into Boston so we need to have much more than that.”

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Andrew Copp went back a ways to put the Wings’ performance into perspective.

“We’re not the 1980 Russian team right now,” he said. “We’re in the process of becoming a team that wins a lot of games, but there’s a lot of lessons to be learned through that process. It was a lesson that we have to build from and understand that there’s a certain type of game, when we don’t have our A-plus game, we have to have a pretty good B-plus game. ”

Lalonde pointed out that both the Devils game and the 5-4 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Oct. 17 came after days off. The collective bargaining agreement mandates players get at least four days off a month, but it sounds like Lalonde may space them differently.

“It’s early in the season and you get a rhythm of things of what works, doesn’t work,” he said. “This is twice we’ve had a day off, which by league rules you should and they need and deserve, and then we turn around and play the next day, and we haven’t played very well.”

The frustration in how things ended is that the Wings were ready — they had a good start, got the lead. But then they stopped playing the way they need, and had to settle for a growing experience.

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 latest book, “On the Clock: Behind the Scenes with the Detroit Red Wings at the NHL Draft,” is available from  Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.

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