Loss to Islanders further damages Wings' playoff chances
Detroit — Tuesday’s game against the New York Islanders pretty much typified the Red Wings’ season.
Coming off impressive victories against two of the best teams in the NHL (Washington, Pittsburgh), the Red Wings didn’t look like the same team and lost 3-1 to the Islanders — who are good, but nowhere near elite.
But that’s been the Red Wings’ season.
They’ve been unable to gain any traction, with no extended winning streak after that six-game streak in the opening weeks, and the lack of consistency has sunk them.
The Red Wings (24-26-10) now head into their league-mandated bye week, during which they’ll have five days off. They don’t play again until Tuesday in Vancouver, opening a five-game trip.
“Big disappointment,” goalie Petr Mrazek said of the loss, especially after two huge weekend victories. “You have two big wins against two of the best teams in the league and you come home and can’t get the third straight win. “It’s frustrating.”
The Red Wings are nine points behind Toronto for an automatic divisional playoff spot and eight points behind Florida for a wild-card spot — with several teams between those teams and the Red Wings to get past.
When the Red Wings return for their next home game March 10 against Chicago — well after the March 1 trade deadline — this could be a different looking Red Wings team.
“As players you only focus on what we can do in here,” said captain Henrik Zetterberg, who scored the lone Red Wings goal on the power play. “We still believe we have a chance. We know that we can play good hockey if we do it right. We know it’s going to be a tough one, but we still believe in here at least.”
Josh Bailey, Calvin de Haan (power play) and John Tavares scored for the Islanders (28-21-10).
Tavares gave the Islanders a two-goal lead at 3:42 of the third period.
Bailey gathered a bouncing puck in the zone, skated to near the side of the net, and centered a pass to Tavares in the slot, who one-timed his 22nd goal past Mrazek.
The Red Wings had an opportunity to cut into the Islanders lead on the power play with 11 minutes remaining, but got nothing generated.
“We didn’t do a good enough job on the forecheck and in the offensive zone to spend time down there,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “In the third (period) I would have liked to have seen us push more.
“We didn’t have enough guys with great jump. We had some guys, maybe a couple, that weren’t there at all, but we just didn’t have enough guys that seemed to have enough jump.”
De Hann gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead on the power play in the second period.
As with the Islanders’ first goal, it was another unfortunate bounce for the Red Wings.
De Haan snapped a shot that Mrazek stopped but the puck bounced off Xavier Ouellet facing the crease.
Mrazek stabbed at the fluttering puck, but it settled into the net at 10:46, de Haan getting credit for his fourth goal.