Consistency eludes erratic Red Wings

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

San Jose — Win one, lose one, win, lose, lose a couple, win.

As the season approaches the halfway point, the Red Wings cannot gain any traction.

Since they won six consecutive games from Oct. 17-27, they’ve only won two straight games on three different occasions — Nov. 8-10, Nov. 23-25 and Dec. 4-6.

They haven’t been able to string together wins for more than a month now, Saturday’s 6-3 loss in San Jose putting a damper on the West Coast trip after Thursday’s 4-0 victory in Los Angeles.

Win one, lose one.

“I don’t know, good question,” said forward Frans Nielsen, as to why the Red Wings have been so inconsistent. “Hopefully we don’t feel too good about ourselves because we win one game. We have to realize we have to win a lot of games here now.

“I don’t know if we have a different mentality. Coming out after a loss you want it a little bit more. You have to go out there and work for 60 minutes and see what happens.

“But, yes, it’s been too many times we win a game and come out the next game, and we just don’t show up.”

The Red Wings saw a 1-0 first-period lead disappear with three late first-period goals by San Jose that for all intent and purposes, decided the outcome.

With the loss, the Red Wings (17-18-5, 39 points) saw themselves fall into last place in the tightly packed Atlantic Division.

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“We have to win games, we have to win multiple games,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “I don’t think we were that bad (Saturday). We just have to keep plugging away and get better.”

Said forward Anthony Mantha: “It feels terrible. We wish we could (win) 15 straight but that’s not how it’s going.”

Not enough production

Another problem is the lack of production after the top two lines.

Zetterberg’s line with Tomas Tatar and red-hot Mantha (seven goals in eight games), and the newly created Nielsen line with Thomas Vanek (five goals in six games) and Andreas Athanasiou (two goals in two games) have provided the bulk of the scoring lately.

The Red Wings haven’t gotten much out of Dylan Larkin (two goals in 12 games), Gustav Nyquist (no goals in 20 games) and Riley Sheahan (no goals for the season).

Coach Jeff Blashill cited the need for the Red Wings to get more production.

“Nielsen’s line was going again (Saturday) and Zetterberg’s line was good again,” Blashill said. “We need to be a four-line team, a four-line team and get production from one line and another line and from another line, and (Saturday) we needed more from those other lines.”

Ice chips

The Red Wings were off Sunday, practice Monday at home, and get right back on the road to complete their stretch of seven consecutive road games in Chicago (Tuesday) and Dallas (Thursday).

…Goaltender Jared Coreau stopped 12 of 15 shots against the Sharks, and Petr Mrazek 17 of 20 in relief.

Both were victimized by deflections and tips as the Sharks did a good job getting pucks through the Red Wings’ defense.

“Jared was fine,” Blashill said. “A lot of it was tips and that kind of stuff around the net. Those can be tough goals at times.”

…Both forward Justin Abdelkader (knee) and defenseman Mike Green (upper body) said they could be returning this week. Abdelakder hasn’t played since Dec. 1 and Green Dec. 17. @tkulfan