NHL: Washington Capitals at Detroit Red Wings
Feb 18, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings center Riley Sheahan (15) skates with the puck chased by Washington Capitals defenseman Nate Schmidt (88) in the third period at Joe Louis Arena. Detroit won 3-2 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

As if this season needed another infamous “Less can be more exciting” reference, here’s just the latest. In addition to missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 1990, the Detroit Red Wings have put forth their lowest goal production since 1977.

Currently averaging 2.4 goals per game, that’s just slightly above their 2.29 goals per game average during the 1976-77 season, when they were stuck in the “Dead Wings” era.

The team was shutout by the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa on Tuesday night, the ninth time this season they’ve failed to score in a game and dropping their record to 32-36-12 – good for dead last in the Atlantic Division.

Their woeful lack of offense has been an issue all season long, and it’s shown in the individual stats of the players. Tomas Tatar has improved of late, currently sitting at 24 goals in 80 games after struggling for most of the year. Their next highest goal total Andreas Athanasiou with 18, followed by Anthony Mantha with 17, and then Henrik Zetterberg and Frans Nielsen with 16 each.

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Among the colossal disappointments in terms of offensive production include Justin Abdelkader, who has scored just seven goals in 62 games after signing a massive seven-year contract extension. Dylan Larkin has gone through the dreaded sophomore slump, with just 16 goals on the season. And of course, Riley Sheahan has yet to score a single goal all season, and has set the Red Wings record for most games played without a goal by a forward.

Winger Tomas Vanek had 15 goals in 48 games before being traded away at the deadline to the Florida Panthers.

Of course, Detroit’s special teams have also taken a hit. Detroit’s powerplay units failed to tally on the road for a three month stretch earlier in the season, and has reached historically low production levels.

The Red Wings will wrap up their season this weekend with the final two games at Joe Louis Arena – Saturday against Montreal and Sunday against New Jersey.

 

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