Faulty power play fails Red Wings in loss

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader (8) tries to get the puck past Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop in the third period.

Detroit — Oh, that power play.

It’s been a problem all season, languishing near the bottom third of the NHL most of the season, and it’s been a sore point in these playoffs.

Tuesday in Game 4, the Red Wings couldn’t score on their power play — and couldn’t stop the Lightning’s — while losing 3-2 and falling behind 3-1 in the best-of-seven series.

The Lightning can eliminate the Red Wings for the second consecutive season with a victory Thursday in Game 5 in Tampa Bay.

If the Red Wings’ power play continues to falter, there’s a good chance this could be it.

The Red Wings are 1-for-21 in the series after going scoreless on four attempts Tuesday and rarely were they a threat in Game 4 with the man advantage.

“Regarding the power play, we had too many unforced errors,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “I didn’t think we won enough pucks when they did pressure us. They did a good job not letting us set up and you have to win those pucks.

“Once we got set up we didn’t do, in my opinion, a good enough job of finding a way of getting pucks to the net.”

Whatever adjustments the Red Wings attempted after Game 3 certainly didn’t work.

“The problems were a little bit different than the game before,” forward Tomas Tatar said. “We couldn’t get shots through (in Game 3). Tonight we couldn’t break in (to the zone).

“We have enough talent. We just to establish the zone and keep shooting pucks.”

While the Red Wings struggled the Lightning suddenly got hot, scoring all their goals on the power play — 3-for-5 on the evening — after going 1-for-14 through three games.

“When things aren’t going the way you like, and we didn’t have many chances to work on our power play, we decided to change up our units a bit,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “We decided to put the puck in the hands of the guys who know what to do with it and challenge them.

“You don’t expect to go 3-for-5 and at some point, special teams is going to affect a series and it did tonight.”


Twitter: @tkulfan