Anaheim, Calif. — A power play goal would have been very helpful to the Red Wings Sunday against the Anaheim Ducks.
But they never did get one, despite five power-play opportunites in the 1-0 loss to the league-leading Ducks.
Not that the power play ineffectiveness is new. The Red Wings are 0-for-21 in their last five games (in which they’re 2-2-1).
“The reality is you have to find a way to score,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “On our power play, when we’re limited like this (by injuries), our power play has to be more dangerous.
“But there are too many one-(shot)-and-offs, and we’re not getting inside and inside enough.”
Certainly the lack of offensive personnel the Red Wings have right now doesn’t help.
Pavel Datsyuk (lower body), Johan Franzen (concussion) and Daniel Alfredsson (back spasms) are three key skilled players missing from the power play.
Babcock isn’t buying that excuse, though.
“Correct, but what are you going to do?” Babcock said. “I’m tired talking about the guys who are hurt. They never seem to come back. The guys we have, they’ve played hard.”
The Red Wings expect some of those players back Thursday in New York against the Rangers.
That boost, along with a little patience, could prove to be the difference.
“A bounce here or there and it would have been different, but that’s the way it goes,” forward Patrick Eaves said. “We just have to keep working hard and those chances will come.”
Simply the best
The Red Wings got an up-close look at the league’s best team Sunday.
Anaheim’s 1-0 victory pushed their league-best record to 35-8-5, with a league high 75 points.
How have they done it?
“Pace, size and they score,” Babcock said. “They score easy. They’ve improved their team (since missing the playoffs in 2011), they went out and got players and they drafted. And their kids are good players.
“I don’t know who their second or fourth line is. That’s depth and scoring.”
The Ducks won Sunday without their leading scorer, forward Ryan Getzlaf, who is day-to-day with a lower body injury.
The Red Wings just aren’t injured, they’re sick, too.
Babcock and forwards Luke Glendening and Niklas Kronwall are just three of the most badly afflicted with illnesses.
Still, the Red Wings were in this game until the final buzzer.
“We had a lot of guys throwing up,” Babcock said. “But they kept playing and competing and that’s a good thing.”
The Red Wings were still talking about the emotional evening Tatar had against the Kings on Saturday, scoring the eventual winning goal a day after the death of his father.
It was Tatar’s third goal in three games and enabled him to reach double figures, with 10 goals.
“He’s been a huge addition for us,” forward Daniel Cleary said. “He’s a puckhound, tenacious on the puck, and competitive. It’s another good player we have.”
Tatar appreciated the support from teammates.
“It wasn’t easy but the guys helped me out,” Tatar said. “They talked to me and helped me out and made me think about other stuff and not just my dad.”
Tatar will leave for Slovakia Monday for the funeral and will miss Thursday’s game in New York.