Detroit Red Wings slogging through familiar struggles on offense
Detroit – The Red Wings struggled to score goals last season.
It should get better this season, with the maturation of Anthony Mantha, Dylan Larkin, Filip Zadina, Robby Fabbri and Tyler Bertuzzi, as well as the addition of veterans like Bobby Ryan, Sam Gagner and Vladislav Namestnikov.
However, the goals remain tight.
The 2-0 loss to Nashville on Tuesday marked the second time in their last four games that the Wings were suspended. In the last 13 games, the Wings have only scored more than two goals twice.
The Wings had the worst goals per game (2.00) in the NHL last season. So far this season they are last at 1.86.
“You want to score and have the puck on your stick to play games,” Larkin said. “We played good defense and scored a great goal, but to win games you have to score goals.”
“We have to score goals.”
The wings have played better defensively and have been in lower scoring games lately.
But they don’t get enough points to get more victories.
“I don’t compare one year to the next,” said coach Jeff Blashill. “We’re a better ice hockey team. We play with more structure and that’s why we’re in games. In many games I felt we had enough chances to score. “
The wings’ difficulties in power play – they recently ranked 6.4% – contribute to the offensive problems and put pressure on the penalty, which has dropped to 29th place (70.5%).
“It will be extremely important that we don’t give up the goals in the PK because we don’t score in power play and you can’t lose the battle of the special teams and expect to win,” said Blashill. “We have to score in the power play in order to put less pressure on the PK.”
Did the lack of points put pressure on the goalkeeper? Jonathan Bernier?
You’d think a goalkeeper would think a little more about not giving up goals when his team is fighting for a goal. But Bernier doesn’t care about this aspect.
“It’s out of my control. So if we get four or five a night or one, you approach the game the same way and worry about your own job,” said Bernier. “That’s the beauty of being a goalkeeper. You only control one thing and that is you. You don’t have to put additional pressure on the team’s game.
“You have to find a way to stop pucks.”
Bernier was arguably the most valuable player in the Wings last season and again argues for this distinction with his game this season.
Bernier is an unreserved free agent even after this season, and his name could be in trade discussions as of the cut-off date if a competitor wants to strengthen their goalkeeping team or if there are injuries
There are no discussions about a new contract, Bernier said, but he did state he wouldn’t mind staying in Detroit beyond this season.
“I just go day after day and just work on my game,” said Bernier. “But of course I would like to stay here. But this is really a different topic for a different time and out of my control.”
Blashill was in contact with the former Wings trainer Mike Babcock – Blashill was Babcock’s assistant for a season – after Babcock was named as the new coach at the University of Saskatchewan last week.
Babcock was fired from the Toronto Maple Leafs last season and was no longer in coaching as he occasionally did television analysis. He was also a volunteer advisor to the University of Vermont’s hockey program.
Babcock grew up in Saskatoon so returns home and begins his coaching career at Canadian colleges.
“I texted Babs and congratulated him and was definitely happy for him,” said Blashill. “I’ve loved every opportunity I’ve had in coaching, and at the NHL level there is certainly glitz and glamor and there are different rewards at different levels.
“But the real, intrinsic reward of making an impact on young people’s lives and helping them become better people and better players is a really cool thing to train in college. He’s going to coach a Canadian university, and I have it’s done at an American university (western Michigan) but either way it’s a good atmosphere and keeps you young when you’re with college students.
“I was really excited for him and he’ll enjoy himself.”
Predators at Red Wings
► Allusion: Thursday, 7:30 p.m., Little Caesars Arena, Detroit
► TV / radio: Fox Sports Detroit / 97.1 FM
► Outlook: The teams complete a two-game streak after Nashville (8-10-0) won 2-0 on Tuesday. … The Red Wings (5-13-3) have been suspended twice in the last four games. … Nashville has not yet lost a regular time at the LCA (3-0-1).