Blashill unhappy with Red Wings' effort in loss

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Columbus, Ohio — If a team wants to make the playoffs it usually finds a way to win a game such as Tuesday’s against the lowly Blue Jackets.

The Red Wings didn’t win, and it’s beginning to be fair to wonder whether thay are a playoff team, or not.

They lost 5-3 to Columbus, although to the Red Wings' credit they did it make it interesting.

Tomas Tatar and Andreas Athanasiou scored 46 seconds apart late in the third period — goalie Jimmy Howard was pulled both times for an extra attacker — cutting the lead to 4-3.

BOX SCORE: Blue Jackets 5, Red Wings 3

But despite persistent Red Wings pressure — Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo had to be sharp on several chances — they couldn’t get the tying goal.

Cam Atkinson’s empty-net goal with 17.5 seconds left, his second goal of the game, made it 5-3 and finally solidified the outcome.

Too little, too late for the Red Wings, and not nearly good enough overall, particularly from a standpoint of urgency.

“Not good enough,” Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “It’s disappointing, it’s frustrating, but there’s no way that effort is good enough, particularly in the first period. We have to look inside ourselves, each individual, and play much better than we did.

“By man, you have to be a lot better.”

Considering the tightness of the playoff race, and the numerous veterans on his roster, Blashill was surprised by the lack of 60 minutes of urgent, impassioned hockey.

“I was surprised, certainly surprised,” Blashill said. “I know we have winners in our room and our guys recognize the urgency of the moment and we didn’t recognize the urgency of the moment.

“I don’t know how they had more urgency than we did but they did. We better pick it up in a hurry.”

The Red Wings have lost three consecutive games, not a good thing this late in the season with every point so crucial and teams around them doing a better job of earning points.

“We just have to play with more urgency,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “Be a little more careful with the puck. We just have to get together here, we know we’re a good team when we’re playing the way we want.

“We have a lot of games left here to turn this around. Obviously losing three in a row is not good but we have time.”

Justin Abdelkader added the other Red Wings goal.

David Savard (power play), David Clarkson, Boone Jenner and Atkinson (power play) scored for the Blue Jackets.

Savard and Atkinson scored on two-man advantages, Luke Glendening having been whistled for short-handed penalties each time.

“You can’t give up 5-on-3s and to have two in a game is tough,” Wings forward Brad Richards said. “We have to be more aware of that.”

Howard stopped 27 shots and kept the Red Wings in the game, particularly in the first period when Columbus outshot the Red Wings 16-4.

The Red Wings were 1-for-5 on the power play, but the unit was ineffective early with the game still on the line.

“Our power play was as bad as it has looked in a while,” Blashill said. “It wasn’t close to being good enough. Our urgency has to pick up in that as well.”

Jenner’s goal, his 23rd, just 26 seconds into the third period gave the Blue Jackets a 3-1 lead.

The Blue Jackets got the puck into the zone, got the Red Wings scrambling defensively, and forward Brandon Dubinsky fed Jenner with a post-to-post pass, Jenner jamming the puck past Howard and giving the Blue Jackets a 3-1 lead.

Atkinson made it 4-1 when he put his stick on a redirected shot that fluttered past Howard at 9:14 of the third period.