Henrik Zetterberg: Red Wings are “too easy to play against”

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NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Toronto Maple Leafs
Mar 7, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Detroit Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg (40) battles for position with Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Roman Polak (46) in the third period at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Red Wings looked decent for the first half of the 1st period against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night, outshooting the Bruins 6-2. Then the wheels came completely off.

The Bruins took a 3-0 lead before you could blink, and headed into the first intermission up by four en route to a 6-1 final. Detroit concluded their five-game road trip with four straight losses, accumulating just three points on the trek.

Aside from the brief positive start, the Red Wings were thoroughly outclassed and embarrassed, and the team’s frustration with their recent play was evident in the locker room following the game.

“I don’t think they are working hard enough for getting chances against us,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said afterwards. “We are way too easy to play against. Guys just skating by us in the neutral zone, not winning battles in our own end. Turn the puck over again. Can’t play like that.”

Defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who scored Detroit’s only goal of the night, echoed Zetterberg’s sentiments.

“We fell apart,” he said. “It was pretty embarrassing at times.”

Goaltender Jared Coreau was pulled after allowing three quick goals in favor of Petr Mrazek, who had originally had the night off after making seven consecutive starts. Zetterberg, however, refused to throw his goalie under the bus and instead shouldered the blame on the rest of the team as a whole.

“Can’t really blame the goalies,” Zetterberg said. “Coreau made some big saves. He played well. Petr, it’s not easy to jump in like that, either, but they made saves. But it’s too easy to play against us. We have to work hard for our chances, but we are just giving away chances to other teams.”

The Red Wings sit at the bottom of the NHL’s Eastern Conference, and things aren’t getting any easier on the schedule. They face the Chicago Blackhawks and New York Rangers later this week, and if Wednesday night’s game was any indication, the next two contests could get ugly.