DETROIT, MI - The Red Wings woes continue as they barely avoid being shut out to Original 6 rival Chicago Blackhawks 5-1. The Wings have gone back and forth between playing like a Stanley Cup contender and a team that gets outskated every play; last night they were the latter.
The game began with a couple of promising chances for the Wings, as the offense was clicking early with great puck movement and shots that just missed their mark. Their dominance was extremely short lived when Farmington Hills native Alex Debrincat forced a turnover in the Hawks offensive zone; the first of 15 Wings turnovers. With nobody open on the pass, Debrincat spun and fired a slow wrister that ended up beating Howard on the glove side. Just like that, the Hawks lead 1-0 after their first shot of the night. Shortly after, Debrincat put up another point on the night feeding Anthony Duclair for his first goal since being traded to Chicago; goal #2 past Howard’s glove. Just three minutes later, Notre Dame grad Vinnie Hinostroza extended the Hawks lead to 3-0 on the road. Finally after 3 goals blowing past Howard’s glove, Jeff Blashill opted to go with former Toledo Walleye Petr Mrazek, who would shut the Hawks offensive clinic down for the rest of the period.
The second period was filled with more Red Wings’ opportunities with pucks just not hitting the net. Halfway through the second period, Hawks captain Jonathan Toews shoveled over a pass to Debrincat for his second goal of the night beating Mrazek top shelf. Hawks lead 4-0 at the end of the second and the Wings looked absolutely deflated.
The Red Wings finally stopped the bleeding with just under 4 minutes to play in regulation when Mantha tipped in a shot from Henrik Zetterberg for a power play goal. That assist earned Zetterberg a tie with Pavel Datsyuk for 6th all-time for Red Wings assist leaders and really was the only thing to cheer about for the Detroit faithful.
The Wings just look lackadaisical at times and this game was more apparent than others. Jeff Blashill voiced his concern with the effort.
“We have a couple of guys that need to understand what every day means. It’s not good enough at all.” Last time around, the Wings embarrassed the Hawks at the United Center with a 4-0 shutout. This time, the Wings looked like they should be playing in the minors. The Wings had 3 shots rattle off the pipe, 15 turnovers, and a goaltender that got beat glove side 3 straight times. 2017 first rd. pick Tyler Bertuzzi is facing much criticism after following up a loss against the Flyers in which he saw not one, but 2 empty net chances that went wide. Last night he was -4 on the ice and 2 missed shots on net. “He needed to be more ready to play tonight”. The Wings will go back to the drawing board during this All-star break and hopefully figure out some of the issues, mostly their consistency of effort. They will resume play next Wednesday at home against the San Jose Sharks. The Wings are tied with Montreal for 4th of in the Atlantic and are 10 pts out of a wild card spot.