Detroit — Rarely has coach Jeff Blashill been so disgusted and disappointed after a loss, but Blashill had reason to be.
Sunday’s 4-1 loss to Vancouver was as bad as the Red Wings have looked this season — and maybe about as bad as they’ve looked in a long time.
Little spirit, not much emotion, and just overall poor play contributed to an ugly, ugly loss.
“It was an embarrassing effort,” said Blashill, who didn’t mince words. “Not even close to the level of competitiveness you have to have.
“We should be embarrassed of ourselves, from me at the top all the way down. We got out-competed, outworked, and out-detailed.”
Losses earlier in the week to quality teams like Tampa Bay, Toronto and Washington, you can understand.
And, in those games, the Red Wings actually were competitive.
Sunday’s loss to Vancouver team that isn’t expected to be ranked among the best teams in the NHL was harder to explain and much more disappointing.
Red Wings coach doesn't mince words after 4-1 loss to Canucks. Ted Kulfan
“We talked about playing pretty good and not winning isn’t good enough, but playing like that isn’t good enough,” Blashill said. “I brag about the culture and leadership in our locker room, we better take care of it.”
Captain Henrik Zetterberg was perplexed as well as to why the Red Wings played the way they did.
Red Wings captain on team's fourth-straight defeat. Ted Kulfan
“It was a bad game,” Zetterberg said. “I don’t think we were crisp enough. We didn’t execute passes, didn’t win battles. We have to be way better.”
The Red Wings were outshot 37-21, but 26-12 in the final two periods as they fell behind 4-1 after 40 minutes (three Vancouver goals broke a 1-1 tie) and didn’t mount any sort of push in the final 20 minutes.
“We didn’t play nearly good enough in the first, we got out-competed, and we came out in the second and we laid an absolute egg,” Blashill said.
The Red Wings only enjoyed one power play — late in the third period — a perfect example of their quiet play all night.
“We didn’t have the puck, hardly,” Blashill said. “We were late on every forecheck, we turned pucks over and we didn’t win battles in our defensive zone.
“When we did have the puck, we threw it away. You’re not going to attract many penalties when you don’t have the puck.”
The Red Wings (4-4-1, 9 points) are winless in four games (0-3-1) and now go on the road for three divisional road games beginning Tuesday in Buffalo.
Anthony Mantha scored the lone Red Wings goal Sunday, his fourth, with a game-tying goal in the first period.
Goaltender Jimmy Howard stopped 33 of 37 shots but wasn’t pleased himself in the second period, when Vancouver scored three times to put the game out of reach.
“(We were) careless with the puck, and there were a couple of bad line changes which put us behind the 8-ball, but at that point, I have to be out there and I have to be making saves for the guys as well,” Howard said.
Sven Baertschi had two goals, and Derek Dorsett and Jake Virtanen one each for the Canucks (4-3-1, 9 points), while goalie Jacob Markstrom stopped 20 shots.
Somehow, the Red Wings are going to need to rally and show significantly more effort and simply play better hockey, or this season could go downward in a hurry.
“The urgency wasn’t there and we have to take it upon ourselves to have it,” Howard said. “That was pretty embarrassing.”