Power-play struggles becoming key factor in Detroit Red Wings’ stumbles
Detroit – It’s going to be an especially painful spot, a major reason the Red Wings don’t win games or earn points in the overall standings.
Thursday’s 7-3 defeat in Dallas was the latest and most expensive example.
Embrace the power play. It’s been a source of frustration for the Red Wings and their fans this whole young season (and the last ones for that matter).
The Wings turned a power play opportunity into a goal on Thursday, which would normally be a pretty successful evening.
But the wings also failed on six other chances – and looked bad. All of that frustrated coach Jeff Blashill.
“You have 12 minutes of power play, you have to score and you have to score earlier,” said Blashill. “We have good entries, we are in great places and then we give away pucks. When we are in the zone, we don’t execute. We have to find a way.”
The Wings finished 22nd out of 31 teams in the power play percentage with 14.8% (4: 27) on Friday.
Blashill mixed and matched units in the third period to ignite any kind of spark, and Tyler met Bertuzzi to briefly reduce the deficit.
But it was too little, much too late.
And it didn’t do anything to erase the images of many wings in the power game that seemingly lost faith in the puck.
“We’re fighting pucks. We are not relaxed and we don’t do plays. We’re forcing it, ”said striker Dylan Larkin. “It’s not working. We have to find a way to be dangerous. We have to keep it simple, to start and get a few shots and ricochets to hit a few home.
“(But) the more we talk about it, the more we think about it. We can’t think about it too much. “
More:Former Wings goalkeeper Jimmy Howard, “a big winner”, has retired
The Wings are undoubtedly hampered in the power game without strikers Filip Zadina, Robby Fabbri and Sam Gagner and defender Jon Merrill, all of whom are on the COVID protocol list.
All play an important role in the power game, especially the second unit, and its absence can be felt.
Some will gradually return to the lineup over the next few weeks. But until then, Blashill’s hands are largely tied to who else he can turn to to raise the unit.
“If there is someone who can do a better job we have to look further,” said Blashill. “We have to find a way. These guys have to pick up their games or someone else has to do the job. We’ll have a couple of people coming back but it’s not until the weekend so we’ll see. “
The Wings made it too easy for a Dallas rookie goalkeeper, Jake Oettinger, who made his first NHL season start on Thursday with just 23 shots.
Too few shots, too little time for the offensive zone and minimal scoring chances of any kind.
The wings still have to work on that.
“We have to find a way to get into the offensive zone and grind it up,” said Larkin. “The only positive shift in the offensive zone that we had apparently was when Danny (DeKeyser) scored a goal (in the third period). We didn’t spend enough time there and didn’t hold onto pucks.
“We just didn’t work for each other.”
Blashill felt it was partial execution, but he wasn’t particularly pleased with the speed of the wings.
“Too easy in the sense that we didn’t shoot and just didn’t have enough time in the zone,” said Blashill. “We spent so much time in the beleaguered game. It felt like they were all over us where we looked and again part of it is our execution and part of it was one step faster than us on all the ice We didn’t get enough pressure.
“I was disappointed that we were one step slower all over the ice.”
The Wings are returning to two home games against Florida this weekend and then take a long, eleven-day, six-game journey through Tampa, Florida and Nashville.
“We have to find a way to take advantage of points at home,” said Larkin. “We’re playing a team that haven’t played many games (Florida) and we have to find a way to earn points at home.”
… The Wings ranked 29th in goals per game (2.00) and shots per game (25.1) which illustrates some of the early season fighting.
… Grand Rapids Griffins, a member of the Wings Minor League, will start training camp on Sunday at the Van Andel Arena. The Griffins open on the street in Chicago on February 5th. The home opener is scheduled for February 20th.
Panthers at Red Wings
Allusion: Saturday, 7 p.m., Little Caesars Arena, Detroit
TV / radio: FSD / 97.1
Outlook: The Panthers (3-0-1) have finally started their season after COVID-19 delays and have done so quite impressively. Three acquisitions out of season are offensively groundbreaking: Center Carter Verhaeghe (four goals, six points), right-back Patric Hornqvist (four goals, five points) and left winger Anthony Duclair (five assists).