Kulfan: Red Wings need a kick in the slump

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Detroit center Gustav Nyquist has only one goal in the last 18 games.

Tampa, Fla. — News and views after Game 1 of the Red Wings-Lightning series, 60 minutes of hockey that looked somewhat similar to last season’s seven-game series Tampa Bay won.

News: Scoring has become an issue again — the Red Wings have lost three straight dating to the regular season, scoring two goals each game.

Views: Some of the slumps are astounding — Henrik Zetterberg, one goal in 25 games; Pavel Datsyuk, none in 11; Gustav Nyquist, one in 18; Brad Richards, one in 15; and Tomas Tatar, one in 11.

The Red Wings aren’t likely to win any series with so many key offensive players misfiring.

“I don’t know what else to say, obviously not good enough,” Nyquist said. “All I can do is keep creating chances. I haven’t scored enough. We have to be better and find ways to score.”

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Coach Jeff Blashill, however, doesn’t believe in singling out players.

“I’m not looking at it like that, I’’m looking at winning a hockey game,” Blashill said. “Whether that goal comes from Nyquist, whether that goal comes from Glennie (Luke Glendening), comes from DK (Danny DeKeyser), it doesn’t matter.

“We need one more than our opponent.”

News: Dylan Larkin’s Stanley Cup playoffs debut line — 11 minutes 30 seconds, minus-1 rating, no shots.

Views: Blashill believes Larkin needs to take what the opposition gives him.

“You want to attack but not force,” Blashill said. “When you force, it usually ends up bad. That balance is critical for a guy like Dylan. When there are opportunities to make plays, make plays, and if there aren’t opportunities to make plays, live another day.”

Blashill doesn’t believe Larkin will be bothered by the excess physicality the Lightning applied.

“That stuff doesn’t bother Dylan,” Blashill said. “He’s got a great toughness to him.”

News: Game 1 was physical, with several scrums breaking out. So, would defenseman Brendan Smith be an option?

Views: Blashill won’t reveal his lineup until today, but Smith might be an option to replace Alexey Marchenko.

Smith hasn’t played since March 26, a healthy scratch in favor of Marchenko.

“Brendan brings a toughness that can be an element in those situations,” Blashill said. “I’m not worried about guys pushing each other back and forth. That doesn’t do much. In fact, the referees did a great job of policing that.

“What we need to do is make sure that we’re taking hits to make plays, that we are making it hard it on them between whistles.”


Twitter: tkulfan