Sound the alarm: Detroit Red Wings slow starts are becoming tedious

Octopus Thrower

You’re not the only one who loves to hit the snooze button; the Detroit Red Wings seemingly haven’t been able to wake up on time either. With their performance Tuesday night in New York, you’d think Detroit is coming off a gruesome West Coast trip; unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Maybe it’s time for a new coffee machine? Maybe try a cappuccino?

You can point to the leaders on this team or the coaching staff; something needs to give. The Detroit Red Wings are just not starting games on time, and it’s becoming very concerning. The New York Rangers took it to Detroit on Tuesday night early and often. The Red Wings somehow survived the first period, only being down 1-0 despite being heavily out-chanced and outplayed. Detroit was outshot 13-5.

Ville Husso allowed a weak goal to Vincent Trocheck at the 1:40 mark of the period. Trocheck danced around Robby Fabbri with little resistance and let a short side shot go from a sharp angle. Husso didn’t have his shoulder pinned to the post, and the puck easily found twine. The more concerning issue is that after barely surviving the first period and having the ability to hit the reset button, blow the dust out of the cartridge, or whatever analogy you prefer during the intermission, they didn’t.

It’s time the Detroit Red Wings re-evaluate just about everything.

The second period on Tuesday night was easily Detroit’s worst period of hockey all year. And that was with the Rangers missing star defenseman Adam Fox. Detroit came out flat; they were constantly losing puck battles, they were losing races to the puck, their power play was horrible, their penalty kill was worse, and they allowed four total goals. The Rangers scored two power-play goals in the period. Ben Chiarot, for some unexplained reason, left Chris Kreider alone in front of the net as a pair of Rangers played catch at the blue line. Kreider would eventually tip home a point shot, leaving Husso with no chance. Less than a minute later, Jake Walman coughed up a puck while Detroit attempted to kill another penalty. Following the turnover, the Rangers played tic-tac-toe, and Trocheck drove home his second of the night thanks to a one-timer.

Just when you thought it wouldn’t get worse, it did. The Rangers, who were swarming the Red Wings in all three zones, continued to dominate in all aspects of the game. Down 3-0 after allowing back-to-back power-play goals, head coach Derek Lalonde failed to call a time-out and, furthermore, let his starting netminder continue to be shelled. Somehow, Shayne Gostisbehere and Olli Maatta failed to outwork or outmuscle Alexis Lafrenière down low behind the Detroit goal. Eventually, after fending off both Red Wings defenders, Lafrenière forced Maatta to turn the puck over and fed a nice pass to Artemi Panarin, who buried his seventh goal of the year.

The Detroit Red Wings started slow on Saturday at home against Boston, falling behind 2-0 before eventually clawing back to a 5-4 victory. The slow starts are something that needs to be addressed. The Red Wings’ special teams have failed them over the past couple of weeks as well. After withstanding a 0-14 stretch on the power play, the Detroit Red Wings buried a pair of goals with the man advantage against the Bruins, but that flaccid power play once again showed its face Tuesday as the Red Wings went 0-6 with the man advantage.

Over and over, Detroit would rip the puck around the dasher to gain entry to the offensive zone but failed to hound the puck, leaving the Rangers an easy clearing opportunity. If you are going to shoot the puck in to gain the zone or chip and chase, you need two bodies on the puck to win the puck battle. When they got the zone, Detroit often failed to create anything in the way of scoring opportunities. In fairness, Daniel Sprong and J.T. Compher each rang the goal post, but other than that, Detroit failed to create traffic in front of Jonathan Quick, allowing the veteran netminder to make a bunch of effortless saves.

Too little, too late.

The Detroit Red Wings scored three consecutive goals in the third period thanks to Michael Rasmussen, Klim Kostin, and Andrew Copp but would fall 5-3.

Again, perhaps it is time to try Rasmussen as a net-front body on one of the power play units. Also, this Jeff Petry experiment is getting old. Tuesday night, he was a liability in his own end. Justin Holl was the odd man out, but he’s proven to be a far better option as the sixth defender to this point in the season. Why not leave Petry as the seventh and avoid this rotation for a while? I also wouldn’t mind seeing Daniel Sprong moved up to play with Compher and Copp on the second unit. Sprong was one forward who flashed all night long for Detroit with his speed and invariant effort.

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