The Detroit Red Wings entered Friday evening having gone 3-1-1 over their past five games, one point behind the New York Islanders and seven points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Islanders were reeling heading into this one, having gone 2-8-3 in January, but will feel good about a 2-0 victory over the Red Wings.
Earlier this week, Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde mentioned that Detroit had an opportunity to string some wins together ahead of the All-Star break to put themselves in a position to play meaningful games through the second half of the season. Playing meaningful games in February, March, and April is something this organization hasn’t accomplished since former captain Henrik Zetterberg retired.
On Tuesday, thanks to Andrew Copp, the Detroit Red Wings beat the San Jose Sharks in overtime. The Red Wings followed that up Thursday with another overtime victory in Montreal thanks to a Robby Fabbri game-winner set-up beautifully by Michael Rasmussen.
The Detroit Red Wings proved to be powerless Friday night in New York.
Friday was just one of those nights for the Red Wings; to be frank, we’ve seen a ton of ‘those’ nights this year. Detroit couldn’t seem to muster much of anything in the offensive zone. No sustained pressure paired with limited chances; when a chance arose, the sensational Ilya Sorokin had an answer.
The Red Wings started backup netminder Magnus Hellberg to give the heavily worked Ville Husso a much-needed rest. Hellberg made 26 saves on the night, a few of which were miraculous but had no chance on an Anders Lee goal. Lee impressively redirected a Brock Nelson shot from his belly in front. Later, Nelson would send a knuckler through an abundance of traffic in front of the Detroit goal that found its way past Hellberg, whose body language suggested he didn’t see the shot. Again, Hellberg played outstanding; the rest did not.
The Detroit Red Wings played like they were skating in quicksand or cement as the game continued. Detroit was on the second of a back-to-back, and it showed. Head coach Derek Lalonde won’t be too thrilled with the loss, but going 3-2-1 over their last six heading into the All-Star break is something to build on.
Detroit’s power play was simply atrocious Friday night, which is one area this coaching staff, specifically Alex Tanguay, needs to figure out during this extended break. Detroit went 0-4 with the man advantage against the Islanders and failed to set up in the offensive zone, let alone create much of any type of scoring chances.
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We’re on to the All-Star break.