It may be freezing cold outside, but on Wednesday night against the New Jersey Devils, the Detroit Red Wings’ power play found itself in hell.
The Red Wings failed to convert on five power-play chances and looked more like the special teams unit that failed to covert on the road for three months last season. Detroit would lose by a 3-1 final score.
Forward Justin Abdelkader scored Detroit’s only tally to cut the score to 2-1 in the second period. Afterwards, he spoke about the setback but didn’t offer much other than the usual sports cliches.
“It was tough to get behind 2-0 but we fought back and put them on their heels, but couldn’t find a way to get another one there,” Abdelkader said after the game. “Can’t make excuses, just have to go out and get the job done. I know we’ve talked a lot about it, but we have to find ways to continue to dig deep and continue to do the little things right and we will turn it around.”
Though he felt his team did some good things, the failure to start on time along with the turnovers is what did them in. Early turnovers led to two Devils goals, both scored by rookie Nico Hischier. The loss dropped Detroit to 3-8-5 in their last 16 games.
“We have to continue to do things right,” he continued. “We can’t feel bad for ourselves. We are doing good things, we just have to do them for 60 minutes and find ways to roll some wins over here and get back in the mix. We have to find a way to grind out some wins here and get feeling good and then try to get on a run.”
Head coach Jeff Blashill was frank in his assessment of his squad’s performance and pointed out the harsh reality that they simply don’t score enough.
“In the first period we totally shot ourselves in the foot. We can’t turn pucks over like that,” said Blashill. “We have been better at that, but in the first we weren’t. And then without question, the power play has to execute. You get five of them, you have to find a way to score.
We don’t score enough at even strength, so we have to score on the power play. That’s a lot of pressure on the power play, but that’s life. The first two, we wasted. The next three overall were better, we had our chances, but that’s why you can’t waste two. If all five were like that, I think you find a way to score.”
The Red Wings return home to Little Caesars Arena to face the New York Rangers tomorrow night.