Coach Jeff Blashill on the Red Wings' poor team defense of late The Detroit News
Dallas — Somebody shake the Red Wings and tell them the holiday break is over.
The days go by, and the losses are mounting for this rapidly falling team.
The Dallas Stars pretty much had their way Saturday — a day after the front office bluntly called out high-scoring forwards Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn — defeating the Wings 5-1.
The Stars scored three goals in the second period, then added two early in the third to deflate a Wings team that largely didn’t show up.
“We deserved to lose 100 percent,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “They outplayed us, without question. They were faster than us all over the ice. I don’t think they are faster than us, so that’s the way we played. We have to be better than that.”
The only Wings’ bright spot, as it he’s been for nearly the entire season, was forward Dylan Larkin.
Larkin’s third-period power-play goal, his 17th goal, stretched his points streak to 13 games.
But other than Larkin, it was an entirely forgettable evening by a Wings team that is trending badly.
“Anytime you lose, it’s disappointing,” forward Gustav Nyquist said. “We’re in a situation where we have lost a few games here and we have dig ourselves out of it. It’s not good enough to just show up for a period, or something like that.
“We do it for bits and pieces, but for some reason we have a few good shifts then follow it up with a couple of bad ones.”
Go back to the start of the month, use about any segment of games, and it doesn’t look pretty for the Wings.
In the short term, they have one win over the last nine games (1-6-2), and two over the last 10 (2-6-2).
Stretch out further, to Dec. 2, and they’ve only won three times over 14 games (3-8-3).
Justin Abdelkader talking about his team's disappointing loss in Dallas The Detroit News
“All our focus can be right now is going to play Monday against Florida,” Blashill said. “We have to go in there and have a good shift and your next shift has to be better, and keep building from there.
“We have to make sure we’re way better from the drop of the puck.”
Injuries are affecting the Wings, but it doesn’t sound like help is on its way.
Forward Darren Helm (upper body) could be back soon, but forward Anthony Mantha (hand) and defensemen Mike Green (lower body) and Danny DeKeyser (upper body) all could be out until mid- to late-January, Blashill said after the morning skate.
That could make for tough times, against a rugged schedule ahead.
“We’ve played some good hockey, we know we can do it,” forward Frans Nielsen said. “We have to find ways to do it again.”
Saturday’s game turned, as have several during this losing streak, when the opponent strung goals together to put the Wings in a difficult deficit.
Stars forward Alex Radulov scored twice (one a power play) in a 3 minute, 23 second span midway in the second period, extending the Dallas lead to 3-0.
Dallas forwards Tyler Pitlick and Jason Spezza then scored 2:49 apart early in the third period to make it 5-0.
“That’s what happens in (allowing) momentum, what happens when you give up goals,” Blashill said. “We’ve got to be better as individuals. I would say too many guys didn’t play good enough. They have to be better, that’s just the reality of it.”