Anemic offense betrays Wings, losing skid at 5

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
The Wings' Gustav Nyquist skates against the Oilers Jordan Eberle in the third period.

Detroit — The Red Wings are on their way to matching their six-game win streak — just in the opposite direction.

They stretched their winless streak to five games Sunday with a 2-1 loss to Edmonton.

The Red Wings are 0-4-1 during this five-game winless streak with a game Tuesday in Philadelphia — where they’ve lost 12 games in a row.

BOX SCORE: Oilers 2, Red Wings 1

Winnipeg (Friday) and Edmonton both came into Joe Louis Arena on the back end of back-to-back games and defeated the Red Wings, cementing the victories with impressive third periods.

“We’re very disappointed in the loss but there was stuff we did real well, much better than Friday,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “But it’s not a good enough result at all. But again, there were some things we took steps forward with.

“In the last two games we’re talking tiny, tiny margins of difference. We have to find a way to turn those margins in our favor.”

The Red Wings only put 23 shots on net on former teammate goalie Jonas Gustavsson, who was making his first start of the season.

“We have to get bodies and pucks to the net,” Blashill said. “They (opponents) have to know it’s getting delivered there. That’s one area we have to get better at. We have to get bodies to the net and create chaos.”

Jimmy Howard stopped 26 shots for the Red Wings, again receiving little offensive support in his starts.

Many fans at Joe Louis Arena Sunday came to watch Edmonton star Connor McDavid and though quiet most of the night, McDavid proved key on the eventual game-winner.

McDavid drew a tripping penalty on Mike Green — “I didn’t agree (with it),” Blashill said — at 19:33 of the second period,just after the Red Wings had killed a Dylan Larkin interference penalty.

McDavid then proceeded to win the draw, giving the Oilers an opportunity to set up — which they couldn’t do at all on the preceding power play.

McDavid received a pass near the dot and found Ryan Nugent-Hopkins alone the near hash marks — McDavid drawing a lot of Red Wings' attention — and Nugent-Hopkins wristed a shot into a largely open net, his second goal, at 19:40.

“McDavid made a great play not pulling the trigger there on the first seam pass,” Howard said. “I didn’t get a good look on the first pass and I was a little behind it.”

Justin Abdelkader (power play) and Edmonton’s Taylor Pitlick traded first period goals.

Abdelkader gave the Red Wings a 1-0 lead with his third goal.

Brendan Smith’s shot from the high slot was stopped by Gustavsson, but the rebound went to Abdelkader battling in front.

Abdelkader put back the rebound at 8:53, Gustavsson not being able to get back to block the shot.

“It’s a good league, a tight league, and once in a while these games are going to be one-goal games,” Abdelkader said. “We have to find a way to bury our chances and just need a little bit more out of everyone.

“We have to find a way to win these games, not lose them.”

The Oilers tied the game late in the first period on Pitlick’s goal.

Pitlick gathered Milan Lucic’s shot and beat goalie Howard on a wraparound. It was Pitlick’s fourth goal.

After taking the lead on Nugent-Hopkins’ goal, the Oilers held the Red Wings to four shots in the third period.

“They blocked a lot of shots, or it felt like it at least,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “We have to get pucks through and (have) people there. That’s the thing, but you don’t want to force it either. We have to spend time in their end, and we did that, just didn’t get enough out of it.”

 ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

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