Poor power play continues to plague Red Wings

Ted Kulfan

Tampa — This was an opportunity to get back in Tuesday’s game against the Lightning, to regain momentum and finally get a sickly offense and power play healthy again.

The Red Wings, trailing 2-0 in the second period, had a two-man advantage for 40 seconds. But, like all Red Wings power plays these days, there was no push and no scoring threat.

Then, Tampa earned a power play three minutes later and essentially put the game away with a goal in a 4-1 loss.

“The lack of scoring on our 5-on-3 affected us too much,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “We didn’t just keep playing, we let it affect us.”

The unit’s ineffectiveness and inability to score power play goals has gone a long way in sinking the Red Wings lately.

Entering Wednesday’s games the Red Wings ranked 30th — dead last — on the power play, with a 12.4 percent success rate.

Over the last 10 games, the Red Wings are 1-for-32, lowlighted by Tuesday’s failure to capitalize on five attempts.

Over their last 27 games, they’ve gone without a goal in 22 of those games. The Red Wings are 8-for-92 (8.7 percent) during the span.

“It (has) cost us games, we know that,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “It did (Tuesday) again. We got a 5-on-3 and we didn’t play the way we wanted to.

“The puck didn’t go in. We got to be better.”

Blashill hinted he may yet again look at trying new personnel on the power play, potentially mixing the groups somewhat in an attempt to find some sort of spark.

The continued struggles are causing frustration levels to rise.

“We’ve put so much pressure on our (penalty kill) because our power play doesn’t score,” Blashill said. “Not only that, but it created frustration and we lost momentum.

“To a man, we need to make sure and look in the mirror. We need to own we’ve got to get way better, whether it’s the coaching staff or players. We’ve got to be way better.”

Wings recall Coreau, Howard out 'a while'

Howard out 'a while'

General manager Ken Holland said goaltender Jimmy Howard (lower body) will be “out a while” after Howard was injured Tuesday against Tampa.

Howard’s leg was trapped under Nick Jensen and Tampa forward Erik Condra (Trenton) during a goal-mouth collision in the second period.

Unable to put much weight on the leg, Howard needed the help of teammates to skate off the ice.

Holland said a more precise timeline will be determined in a couple days after seeing how Howard’s body responds.

Goalie Jared Coreau was recalled from Grand Rapids Wednesday to back up Petr Mrazek, while Howard was placed on the seven-day injured list.

Coreau, 25, made his NHL debut Dec. 3 in Pittsburgh, making 32 saves in a 5-3 loss to the Penguins.

Ice chips

Blashill liked what he saw out of Jensen, who made his NHL debut against Tampa.

Jensen assisted on Anthony Mantha’s late goal and was credited with two shots, one hit and one takeaway in 15 minutes 30 seconds of playing time.

“He has a lot of guts and wants to go out and make things happen,” Blashill said. “Nick played real well.”

…There was a bit more frustration and emotion than usual during and after the game Tuesday, but Zetterberg felt that was acceptable.

“It’s not fun losing,” Zetterberg said. “Guys show emotions somehow. You just have to find a way to build on that and start winning battles and execute.

“We do that, we’ll be better.”

…After Friday’s game in Florida, the Red Wings and the rest of the NHL go on a three-day holiday break.


Twitter: @tkulfan