Detroit — There’s been many areas that have ebbed and flowed for the Red Wings this season.
What was a problem just a while ago, isn’t anymore — and vice versa.
Right now, the Red Wings could use the power play to perk up again.
After going 0-for-3 in Saturday’s 6-1 loss against St. Louis, the unit is 0-for-10 since scoring twice Nov. 30 in a 6-3 loss to Montreal.
“I judge process, (and) if the power play looks like that Monday (against Florida), we’ll probably score," coach Jeff Blashill said. "If we don’t, and it looks like that again on Wednesday (against Boston), we’ll score for sure. That’s the way odds are. You just have to keep playing in the right way.
“We had a lot of shots and chances, we just didn’t score. You can’t make the puck go in the net all the time. That’s the game of hockey.
“But what you can do is make sure your process is really good and the power play process for the most part was excellent.”
If you go two games before that Montreal game, the Red Wings were 0-for-5 in those games.
Bottom line is a less than sizzling 2-for-19 with the man advantage over the last six games — the Red Wings actually had two lengthy 5-on-3 advantages Tuesday against Winnipeg and didn’t score — isn’t going to cut it.
“This time in the season everybody’s got their video and they know exactly what teams and their power plays are doing,” defenseman Mike Green said. “We’re trying to find new ways to create shooting chances and scoring chances.”
The Red Wings could have put pressure on the Blues Saturday by converting an early power-play opportunity. Instead, they were denied and watched St. Louis go down the ice shortly after and score to take control of the game.
“The first unit got a lot there. They were out there almost two minutes each time and created a lot of chances,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “But that’s the moment you want one (goal), or even two.
“When we look at that video, too, we probably did a lot of good things but you want to get that edge, get the ugly one and get some momentum on your side.”
Goaltender Jimmy Howard has allowed four or more goals in four of his last five games, and received a Bronx cheer from Little Caesars Arena fans late in the second period against St. Louis after making a save.
Howard allowed four goals on 10 shots against the Blues.
But Blashill was adamant in his confidence for Howard after Saturday’s loss.
“His game is right where it needs to be,” Blashill said. “There are some nights when the puck goes in, sometimes the puck goes off people and whatever happens, it finds its way in. It’s kind of what happened (Saturday).
“Jimmy is on top of his game. He looks to me the way he did at the beginning of the year and at the world championships and at the beginning of last year.”
Blashill understood the crowd razzing Howard.
“I get it, we have a passionate fan base,” Blashill said. “But they (fans) appreciate guys who go to work and put their head down and fight through adversity. I know what this city is about, and that’s what this guy has done.
“He was down and out two years ago and could have said woe is me and a bunch of excuses, but he went to work.
“That’s the type of guy I’m proud to coach and his teammates are proud to be teammates of. I have no concerns of Jimmy Howard long term.”
Despite the loss, Blashill liked much what he saw out of his team against St. Louis.
“If you look at it through a clear lens, not a frustrated lens, you say ‘OK, if we replicate the first two periods again on Monday, we will be in a great spot,'” Blashill said.
…Tyler Bertuzzi was recalled from Grand Rapids for Saturday’s game, but with Luke Witkowski coming off his suspension and David Booth day-to-day with an undisclosed injury, it’s unknown how long Bertuzzi will remain with the Red Wings.
Bertuzzi played 9 minutes 13 seconds Saturday in 13 shifts. He recorded one shot and one blocked shot, but finished minus-3.
“It’s just hard to get lots of ice time,” Blashill said. “That’s one of the reasons why we haven’t called him up before this (because) we don’t have lots of ice time for him.”
Panthers at Red Wings
Faceoff: 7:30 p.m. Monday, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit
Outlook: The Panthers (11-14-4, 26 points) are one point behind the Red Wings in the Atlantic Division…C Vincent Trocheck, a former Little Caesars standout, leads the Panthers with 12 goals and ranks second with 30 points.