Goal slump trips up Wings in loss to Blues

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit —The Red Wings aren’t scoring enough goals and it’s beginning to cost them games.

Wednesday, they only scored one and that’s not nearly enough most games  — and it wasn’t against the St. Louis Blues, losing 2-1.

The loss was the second consecutive for the Red Wings  — although Sunday’s was a shootout loss — after a successful six-game road trip in which the Red Wings won five games.

But a team can’t win if it doesn’t score many goals and the Red Wings aren’t scoring many at all these days.

“You just have to keep going at it and shooting pucks,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “It’s hard to score in this league, teams are playing a lot tighter than they used to. When you get your chances, you put those away.”

Zetterberg scored a late power-play goal at 17 minutes, 47 seconds, cutting the Blues lead to 2-1.

Zetterberg scored his eighth goal through a screen in front of Blues goalie Brian Elliott.

A Dylan Larkin hooking penalty with 57 seconds left in the game snuffed a chance for the Red Wings to possibly tie the game, as the Blues held on for the victory.

“We have to play the same hockey, we can’t vary or deviate from playing good defensively,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “But we have to find a way to score a little bit more. We have to be a little harder around the net, hit the net more, and make sure we have enough net presence.”

Offense has been a Red Wings (23-15-8, 54 points) problem.

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They’ve scored more than two goals only once in the last seven games and stretched even further, only two games in the last 11.

“You can’t feel sorry for yourself, it’s hard to score in the league right now,” forward Brad Richards said. “You keep plugging away and believe it’ll go our way if we do the right things.”

Ty Rattie and Dmitrij Jaskin scored the Blues' goals, while Elliott stopped 29 shots.

Petr Mrazek made 18 saves for the Red Wings, in what has become nightly pressure-packed, one-goal games for the goaltender.

“I have to do my job and the guys do their own job,” Mrazek said. “That’s what we have to do.”

Each team was missing a key player because of illness.

Tomas Tatar was a late Red Wings scratch because he wasn’t feeling well, after participating in the morning skate.

The Blues were missing Colton Parayko (ill), one of the top-scoring rookie defensemen in the league.

Parayko’s absence was particularly glaring as it forced the Blues to go with five defensemen, the Blues not having activated a defenseman earlier in the day.

Jaskin’s third goal of the season at 12:13 of the third period, gave the Blues a comfortable cushion.

Jaskin roared down the center of the ice, received a pass from David Backes near his own blue line, and skated through the Red Wings before depositing the puck past Mrazek.

The Red Wings had a pair of second-period power plays, fine chances to get back in the game, but didn’t convert.

Elliott’s best save in the second period was stopping Danny DeKeyser who had a clear shot high in the slot after a good Red Wings rush.

The Red Wings kept the momentum going, but Zetterberg’s tip after a centering pass from Gustav Nyquist, was deflected wide.

The Red Wings appeared headed for a scoreless first period until the Blues struck late.

Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo’s shot from the point appeared to deflect off Backes, then bounced off the leg of Rattie driving through the slot, and past Mrazek at 18:01.

“We have to keep playing the way we played tonight,” Blashill said. “We have to keep defending well and we have to find a way to score a little more. We have guys that have more scoring in them. Sometimes it ebbs and flows a little bit.”