Slumping Tatar, Nyquist are seeing less ice time

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist has 14 goals this season but hasn't scored in the past 10 games.

New York — For the Red Wings to win, forwards Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar needed to take a step up in their careers.

But after last season’s impressive run —Tatar had 29 goals and Nyquist 27 — it’s not likely either will take that step.

Tatar has 16 goals and Nyquist 14, and neither have been able to get on a hot stretch that would ignite the offense.

Nyquist hasn’t scored a goal in 10 games (five assists), while Tatar has two goals in 16 games and has gone seven games without recording a point.

They played about 11 minutes in the 1-0 overtime loss to the Rangers last weekend.

“The other side of it is they have to go out and scream at me that they want to play more,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said, hinting at wanting to see more passion out of the players. “I didn’t think they screamed at me they want to play more. That’s one way to make sure you get more ice time.”

Blashill also said part of the reason for the limited time for Tatar and Nyquist against the Rangers was because of the strong zone possession by Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, who logged more ice time than usual on the power play.

“It’t a little bit on the matchup, and they didn’t get much time on the power play,” Blashill said.

Positive step

Was the solid performance by goaltender Jimmy Howard a signal his season is turning around?

The Red Wings hope so after Howard stopped 29 shots, many of them highlight-reel quality, in arguably his best game.

“Howie was really, really good,” Zetterberg said. “He made some unbelievable saves. ... He’s played in some tough situations, a lot of back-to-back games (back ends) when the team is a little bit tired. He was outstanding (against the Rangers).”

Said Blashill: “From a process standpoint, he’s actually been fine. The one thing about goaltending is sometimes you could be playing great and pucks go in. I know that ... I really look at it and try to judge it from a process standpoint.”

Ice chips

Hall of Fame defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom will be honored before Tuesday’s game against the Blue Jackets.

... The Red Wings had the day off Monday after back-to-back games and three in four days.

... After going 0-for-4 against the Rangers, the Red Wings are 20th in the NHL on the power play (17.7 percent).

“The power play wasn’t good enough,” Blashill said. “A game on the road, you have to win the special teams battle to give yourself a real chance. We had shot attempts but we didn’t have nearly enough shots, one shot on the power play. We need it to be better.”

Blue Jackets at Red Wings

Faceoff: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Joe Louis Arena, Detroit

TV/radio: NBCSN, FSD/97.1

Outlook: This is the first matchup between the teams. ... Columbus has been near the Eastern Conference basement all season but has played well lately.