CLOSE

Justin Abdelkader met the media Thursday night following a 6-3 loss to the Montreal Canadiens at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. Ted Kulfan, Detroit News

LINKEDIN 42 COMMENTMORE

Detroit — Many Red Wings players, and coach Jeff Blashill, were talking about the importance of these two games against Montreal. A divisional opponent, tight standings, about how important the game are even this early in the regular season.

If it’s the case, then the Red Wings hurt themselves — and are continuing to damage their spot in the standings on this homestand — Thursday with a 6-3 loss to Montreal.

Too many costly defensive breakdowns, not enough urgency, all added up to another disheartening loss on home ice.

“Stupid hockey,” Blashill said. “Just craziness. You come out and have a real good first period overall … you just cannot give away easy goals.”

For at least the second time during his homestand, Blashill wasn’t impressed with the level of commitment from some of his team, too.

“Not enough guys with the real crazy commitment to win,” Blashill said. “Find a way to not be in the shot lane, not win a battle, just not enough guys to do the little things to win. The level of commitment it takes to win in this league is incredible. We have to raise our commitment level.”

BOX SCORE: Canadiens 3, Red Wings 1

The Red Wings (10-11-5, 25 points) saw their winless streak reach six games (0-3-3), as well as dropping beneath Montreal in the Atlantic Division standings into fifth place.

And the lack of success at Little Caesars Arena continues to be a confounding riddle for the Red Wings. Remember all the talk preceding this homestand, in which the Red Wings play 13 of 15 games at LCA? How it was make-or-break, a defining point of their season?

This isn’t going good. They’re 2-3-4 during this stretch, 2-3-3 at LCA.

So much for the advantages of playing on home ice. They’re 4-5-4 thus far this season, although not playing smart hockey at home doesn’t help.

“We create the home-ice advantage,” Blashill said. “You can’t give up easy goals. It’s hard to ask your crowd to be way behind you when you give up (bad goals). You want home ice advantage, you have to make sure you play more efficient hockey.”

More: Red Wings GM Ken Holland says team needs to 'play better'

In what’s sure to be a close playoff race, Tampa and Toronto have created some separation atop the Atlantic Division, while Boston and Montreal are beginning to gather steam upward in the standings.

The Red Wings can’t afford a prolonged losing streak to fall deep in the standings.

Autoplay
Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

“When we play good, we’re good but when we don’t play good, we’re terrible,” said captain Henrik Zetterberg, who hasn’t scored a goal in 19 games. “You have to be able to live through nights and games and we’re not doing that right now.

“There are a lot of players that have to be better, starting with me. I have to find a way to more out of my ice time and produce more and hopefully everybody else will follow along.”

The Canadiens scored three times in the second period to erase a 2-1 Red Wings lead, and added insurance in the third, to grind out a win.

The Canadiens scored three times in the second period to erase a 2-1 Red Wings lead, and added insurance in the third, to grind out a win.

CLOSE

Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill met with the media Thursday night following a 6-3 loss to the Montreal Canadiens at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. Ted Kulfan, Detroit News

Anthony Mantha (his 12th), Tomas Tatar (eighth, on the power play) and Frans Nielsen (seventh, power play) had Red Wings goals. Goaltender Jimmy Howard stopped 19 shots.

Brendan Gallagher (his 11th and 12th, one on the power play), Charles Hudon (third), Andrew Shaw (sixth), Alex Galchenyuk (sixth) and Max Pacioretty (eighth, power play) had Montreal goals.

The Canadiens (12-12-3, 27 points) won their fourth consecutive game, all since goaltender Carey Price (28 saves) has returned from injury and back to his all-world level after a poor start.

“They outskated and outbattled us,” Mantha said. “We need to be ready.”

tkulfan@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/tkulfan

LINKEDIN 42 COMMENTMORE