Philadelphia – One of the sure things in life — the Red Wings never win in Philadelphia.
The last time, actually, in the regular season was 17 years ago, Jan. 25, 1997 and it won’t happen again this season.
The Flyers made sure of that Tuesday with a 5-0 victory — the Red Wings’ eighth consecutive loss in Philadelphia during that span. It also was the first time the Wings have suffered three consecutive road shutouts since 1928.
But few defeats, probably, have been as thorough as this one was.
“It’s embarrassing walking out of this arena tonight,” defenseman Jonathan Ericsson said. “We didn’t do much right.”
Playing without star forwards Pavel Datsyuk (lower body), Johan Franzen (concussion) and Henrik Zetterberg (back), the Red Wings didn’t muster pressure against the Flyers, who gradually assumed control of this game.
The first period gave the Red Wings hope. But as the evening wore on, too many breakdowns and poor power play (0-for-4) did the Red Wings in.
“Too many self-inflicted wounds, turnovers,” coach Mike Babcock said. “For us to be successful we have to be detail oriented and ultra-hard working. We didn’t have details, with or without the puck.
“That’s the way it goes sometimes but you have to be resilient and we weren’t.”
Scott Hartnell (his second goal of the game) and Adam Hall (Michigan State) scored 2:54 apart in the second period, pushing the Flyers lead to 3-0.
Babcock called a timeout after Hall’s score, but the damage appeared to have done.
“It was a feeding frenzy and we kept turning the puck over,” Babcock said. “Bad things happen in a game, no problem, just stay composed and keep playing. Obviously we didn’t have composure for a bit.”
Hartnell (power play) scored the lone first-period goal and assisted on Claude Giroux’s third period goal (Giroux also had two assists).
Sean Couturier capped the Flyers scoring late in the third period.
Philadelphia goalie Steve Mason stopped 33 shots for his second shutout.
“I felt we played real well in the first period, then we tried to play catch up and open the game up and they’re good skilled for that,” forward Daniel Alfredsson said.
“They took advantage of that.”
The Red Wings could have used a power play goal with so many key players out but failed to generate anything, going 0-for-4.
Only generating three shots on net in eight minutes of power play time wasn’t nearly good enough.
“We have to find a way there, we have to get more pucks to the net,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “Forget about all the go here and there, and just get more pucks to the net. It’s pretty simple.”
Said Babcock: “When you never look at the net and just stickhandle and pass it around the outside, nothing much is going on.”
In a season the Red Wings (23-19-11, 57 points) have struggled to gain any sort of positive traction, they’ve gone winless in two games after having won two in a row.
Also, for what it’s worth at this juncture – and it’s becoming more important daily — the Flyers (26-22-6, 58 points) and Carolina moved past the Red Wings in the playoff picture.
With five games remaining before Olympic break, the Red Wings are in the unfamiliar position of simply trying to get into the playoff picture.
“Everybody has a really good understanding about the standings,” Alfredsson said. “We know things are tight and how important every point is. It’ll probably be like that all the way until the end.”