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Zetterberg: “We aren’t good enough to win games”

It was a frustrating night for the Detroit Red Wings as they dropped yet another game to their Atlantic Divisional rivals, the Tampa Bay Lightning. A penalty-filled parade led to Detroit losing by a 3-2 final, extending their winless skid to six games following a promising 4-1 start.

Following the loss, the Red Wings players and coaching staff offered their views on what had just transpired, but it was a visibly frustrated Henrik Zetterberg who perhaps summed it up best.

Speaking with reporters in the visitors dressing room at Amalie Arena, he offered a brutally honest opinion on what’s been a difficult past few weeks.

“We aren’t good enough to win games and that’s why we’ve lost six in a row,” he said.

Whether or not he was speaking specifically of the last six games or painting a more overall picture, it’s the sad new reality that fans of the Red Wings are going to have to endure. Without a bonafide number one defenseman on the blue line and a sputtering offense, the above-average goaltending they’ve gotten so far on the young season is rendered a moot point.

Detroit’s undisciplined play and careless penalties certainly did them no favors, as Tampa Bay scored twice on six power play opportunities.

“We can’t keep slashing,” Zetterberg said. “We should be better at knowing what we can and can’t do. That is on us.” 

Frans Nielsen, who scored both of Detroit’s goals, echoed the captain’s point and simply said they need to be more careful with their sticks.

“We are putting ourselves at risk for them making that call,” he said. “That is 100% on us. We can’t whine about the refs making the penalty calls. We have to make sure we keep our sticks on the ice.”

Head coach Jeff Blashill built on their sentiment, saying the team can’t expect success if they can’t stay out of the penalty box.

“It’s stupid,” Blashill said. “You put them on the power play like that – we’d had two great kills in the first period. We probably gained momentum from the kills because we had done such an excellent job, and then we take a too-many-men penalty that’s totally inexcusable, 100% inexcusable. Know who you are changing for, know if your guy comes off or not. Those are veteran players making that mistake. It can’t happen.

“Then we take the slashing penalties. We have to eliminate those types of plays. We were self-destructive tonight. You just can’t go to the box like that.”

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