Wings far from perfect despite win streak

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Petr Mrazek stops the Blues' Robby Fabbri during the shootout Thursday night in St. Louis.

They aren’t perfect, although for the last six games they have been.

The Red Wings have won six consecutive games – after losing their first two – but the consensus after Thursday night’s 2-1 shootout victory in St. Louis was that they have stuff to clean up.

“We’re getting closer and closer to that loss,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “We’re getting a little overconfident, turning pucks over too much, and right now our goalies are saving us.

“They can’t do that all the time. We had a good stretch of four games where we played real solid. But now it’s easy to use that a little bit and get a little too confident.

“We have to get back to work.”

Goaltender Petr Mrazek was sensational Thursday, particularly early as the Red Wings were turning pucks over and playing rather sloppily for a team on a five-game win streak.

Mrazek and Jimmy Howard have been superb in the early going, and each has been largely responsible for a victory during the win streak (Howard’s was the 3-1 win against the New York Rangers).

“I don’t think we’ve been perfect but we found ways and when we didn’t play well, the goalies have stepped up,” said forward Frans Nielsen, whose shorthanded goal tied the game in regulation time Thursday. “We are still working. There’s still a lot of place for improvement. We just have to keep working on it.”

Nielsen talked about the Red Wings’ tradition and talent level after he signed as a free agent in July, and how he felt Detroit was a playoff team when few analysts felt likewise.

But even Nielsen has been impressed with what he’s seen from his new teammates.

“I knew there was young kids and talented guys, but wow,” he said. “There are so many guys that can really play.”

Mrazek milestone

St. Louis is becoming a special place for Mrazek, who is among the league’s best goalies early this season.

Mrazek made his NHL debut in 2013 and defeated the Blues at the Scottrade Center.

He had two victories in the meantime, then Thursday, in career game No. 100 Thursday, Mrazek earned his 50th career win in a memorable outing.

Wings prevail in lengthy shootout, win streak at 6

Coach Jeff Blashill was pleased with Mrazek’s game, but also with the fact the Red Wings were able to eventually get on track.

“We’ve had real good goaltending this year,” Blashill said. “It’s a big part of having success in the league. Petr kept us in it in the first (period) for certain. You look around the league and whether it’s (Montreal’s) Carey Price or any other goalie, that’s part of this league.

“I was just happy our guys stuck with it mentally and we got good goaltending, and we found a way to get our game going.”

Ice chips

Blashill said forward Thomas Vanek (middle body) was day-to-day, so his availability for this weekend was uncertain. The Red Wings didn’t practice Friday. Vanek was a late scratch against the Blues.

… This current Red Wings six-game win streak is the longest since they won six from Jan. 13-27, 2015.

… Blashill was cautious when asked about the win streak: “It feels good in the sense we’ve played pretty good throughout those six, especially the latter part. The process has been good overall. It’s good you have put points on the board, for certain. But I want us to continue to grow as a hockey team.”

Bruins at Red Wings

Faceoff: Saturday, 7 p.m., Joe Louis Arena.

TV / radio: FSD / 97.1.

Notable: The Bruins (3-4-0) have lost three consecutive games and are struggling in every department. … G Tuukka Rask (groin) has missed the last two games but is expected to return Saturday. … RW David Pastrnak (five goals) was suspended Friday for two games for an illegal check.

Twitter @tkulfan