10-1! Blowout loss to Canadiens puts Wings in crisis mode

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Montreal Canadiens' Paul Byron scores against Detroit Red Wings goaltender Petr Mrazek during the first period.

This is becoming an instant replay of last season — and that’s going to make for a long winter for Red Wings fans.

Two nights after a dismal performance against Montreal at Little Caesars Arena, the Red Wings traveled to Montreal Saturday and lost 10-1 to the Canadiens.

It was the first time the Red Wings have allowed 10 goals since a 10-3 loss to the Blues in March of 2011.

This was more dismal. Much more. Awful.

“Basically embarrassed everyone that played for the Winged Wheel tonight,” captain Henrik Zetterberg told reporters after the game. “We have to live with that.’

And it’s fair to wonder if some sort of changes — be it coach Jeff Blashill, players, anything — is too far away if these kind of outcomes continue.

BOX SCORE: Canadiens 10, Red Wings 1

Trades are difficult to come by, and likely will not take place until closer to the late February trade deadline.

But Blashill told Fox Sports Detroit after the game changes aren’t necessarily needed. The Red Wings have shown, he said, they can be a good team this season when playing their type of game.

“This team is good enough to win,” Blashill said. “The guys in the locker room are good enough to win. We have to decide to play at our optimal level.

“We have to decide at some point we’re not putting up with this anymore.”

Exactly 22 years after the Red Wings defeated Montreal 11-1 and drove goaltender Patrick Roy from the Canadiens to Colorado, Montreal extracted a measure of revenge.

And at just about the same point the Red Wings began slipping out of any real possibility of playoff contention — at least stopped looking like a playoff team — it’s beginning to happen again.

They’re wasting an advantageous home schedule — and not doing much better on the road.

Talk about an awful two games of hockey.

Heading into these back-to-back games against a division and Original Six rival, the Red Wings were talking about the importance of this back-to-back and the opportunity to establish a solid position in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference standings.

Two losses to Montreal later, the Red Wings saw their winless streak extend to seven (0-4-3) as they sink deeper, lower in the standings.

And as they saw last season, you don’t want to fall behind too many teams and be too far down in the standings. Passibng teams is just too difficult.

Andreas Athanasiou scored his sixth goal at 9:46 of the third period — cutting the Montreal lead to 8-1.

Goaltender Petr Mrazek started, gave up five goals on 25 shots, but received no help from this teamates. Jimmy Howard made four saves on nine shots and also was left to fend for himself.