Daniel Alfredssona and the Red Wings continue to struggle on the power play. (David Guralnick / Detroit News)
Detroit — The formula for an effective power play has never changed as long as Daniel Alfredsson has been in the NHL.
That’s 18 seasons, during which he’s been a big part of many successful Ottawa Senators teams, and been one of the better offensive players in the game.
So Alfredsson knows how to put the puck in the net.
“For any successful power play, as long as I’ve been in the league, you always come back to the same thing,” said Alfredsson after Tuesday’s 5-0 loss to Philadelphia in which the Red Wings went 0-for-4 with the man advantage. “Shoot the puck and get people in front.
“We’ve got to find a way to get some more pucks to the net and give this team some momentum.”
Without Pavel Datsyuk (lower body), Johan Franzen (concussion) and Henrik Zetterberg (back), the Red Wings aren’t likely to score many goals these days, especially at even strength.
So that makes the opportunites on the power play that much more crucial.
But in the absence of Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Franzen, there are some players who’ve never been on an NHL power play…
“Ever,” coach Mike Babcock said, finishing a reporter’s question. “We hit three (cross)bars. We had some opportunities, but we didn’t score (Tuesday). Any way you look at it, we’ve got to be better.
“We have to really focus in on that in our practice and get ourselves dialed in.”
The sooner, the better. The Red Wings, for the month of January, are 4-for-50 (8 percent).
They’ve fallen to 22nd in the league on the power play, converting 16.2 percent of their chances.
“When you never look at the net and you stickhandle and pass around the outside, not much is going on,” Babcock said. “When that’s your skill set, pretty soon you’re not on the power play.”
Allowing nine goals in the last two games hasn’t helped the Wings at all.
Breakdowns have been too common, and it doesn’t matter if it’s rookies or established players.
“Turnovers, no F-3’s (third forward high), didn’t sort things out,” Babcock said. “That’s not good enough. For us to be successful right now we have to be detail-oriented.
“I don’t care where they’re from or where they’ve played before, or how many minutes you can (play). We’ve got to do things right. It doesn’t matter if you’re a kid or not. You can do things right. We gave them (the Flyers) three of the five goals. That can’t happen if you want to have success.”
With the Red Wings on the outside looking in at the playoff picture, yes, they’ve begun to take a peek at the standings board in the locker room, or the nightly updates on the television to see who won or lost.
“The bottom line is the ball is in our court here,” Babcock said. “We have five more games until the Olympic break, and it’s a very important time for us. We've got to dig in.”