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Monday, January 13, 2020

Jeff Blashill: Red Wings a fragile team right now

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Michael Whitaker
Always at the front lines of Detroit Sports.

It’s understandable for a team’s confidence to be lacking in the midst of a slump. But this stretch of losing that the Detroit Red Wings are currently experiencing has their confidence all but shot.

The Red Wings are winless in their last six games and have won just once in their last 11 games, dropping them near the bottom of the NHL’s Eastern Conference standings. Wednesday night’s loss to the Calgary Flames was the second game in a row that they gave up a multiple goal lead; they did so previously on New Year’s Eve against the Florida Panthers.

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While this year’s edition of the Red Wings wasn’t expected to be a playoff team, the expectation was that the team would compete and battle to the finish night in and night out. That didn’t happen Monday night against Florida, as they squandered a 3-0 lead and were outshot 14-2 in the second period, eventually losing 4-3 in a shootout. The team played better against the Western Conference leading Flames, but still gave up 2-0 and 3-2 leads en route to a 5-3 loss.

“We’re obviously a bit of a fragile team,” Blashill said after the loss to Calgary. “We’re in these games all the time, it’s a one-goal game, you have to find a way to win. We found a way to lose.

“When you’ve lost as many as we have, the reality is that you get to points where you are fragile. We can pretend that’s not true, but that’s not what happened. Now, we have control over that. We have control of believing in ourselves and carrying ourselves with confidence. We’ve been here before, let’s go find a way to dig ourselves out.”

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Defenseman Niklas Kronwall was blunt about his team’s performance on Monday night, but pointed to the positive that at least they didn’t go down in embarrassing fashion again.

“Monday night the second period (against Florida) was embarrassing,” Kronwall said. “It should never look like that. So tonight was better.”

It won’t get any easier for the Red Wings. They host another top Western Conference team in the Nashville Predators Friday night at Little Caesars Arena, followed by Alexander Ovechkin and the reigning Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals on Sunday.

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