Head coach Jeff Blashill was understandably upset last night. The Detroit Red Wings, in an unprecedented lack of effort, fell to the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1. That score disparity belies the true scope of the game: the Red Wings just failed to try through 50 minutes of play.
The Hurricanes registered the first 14 shots of the game before Detroit could finally muster one on net. Knowing full well that they were going to have to test former teammate Petr Mrazek quickly and often, they simply failed to do so. Carolina totaled up 21 shots in the first period alone, giving Jimmy Howard the full peppering treatment. Regardless, Howard stood tall and gave his team a chance; a chance they squandered.
Carolina added 15 more shots in the 2nd period, and capped out at 39 on the night. Howard ended the night with a stellar .947 save percentage, and his team couldn’t give him the backup he needed. The Red Wings didn’t get on the board until after the halfway mark of the third period. Andreas Athanasiou potted his 3rd of the year by crashing the net and converting a well-time Thomas Vanek pass to the crease.
Post-game, Blashill addressed the media and minced no words about the Red Wings’ performance.
“This was getting outcompeted and outworked and I haven’t see this,” he said. “This wasn’t Boston, this wasn’t Montreal. As bad as those scores looked, that was 100 percent you lose your way, you start cheating like crazy to try to score and make it up. This was just getting outworked and outcompeted.
“This wasn’t about talent. This was 100 percent inexcusable. This is no good.”
In a game where the physical play of Anthony Mantha, a lone goal scored, and your goalie standing on his head are the only highlights of the night, Blashill’s frustration is understandable. He knows that they didn’t come out ready, and that it’s the number one issue they need to address before Friday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets. (6-2-1, 3rd-Central)
“We can go to work (Tuesday in practice) and make sure it never happens again, which we will,” Blashill said.
“They press forward as hard as anybody,” Blashill said. “But we weren’t ready to get our asses out and make a hard play out in space and get in foot races and back them off, so then we kept trying to make plays and do other stuff and they kept picking it off and going back at us and we don’t get out of our end. When we did get, even early, I thought we had some shifts in their end where we refused to shoot the puck.”
I don’t think anyone wants to be out on that ice tomorrow for practice with a seething Blashill at the helm.