Feckless power play costs Red Wings in loss to Devils
Newark, N.J. — A familiar script is beginning surface game after game with the Red Wings.
Play decent hockey, look respectable, but play well enough to lose.
It was more of the same Wednesday, as fell behind early — battled to get back in — but ultimately lost, 3-1.
“We can’t feel bad for ourselves,” said Justin Abdelkader, who scored the lone Red Wings' goal. “We have to find a way. We’re doing good things. We just have to do it for 60 minutes and find ways to roll some wins and get back in the mix.”
The Red Wings’ power play didn’t help matters either, going 0-for-5, not producing with the chance of tying the game.
“The first two (power plays) we wasted,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “The next three overall were better, we had chances, but you can’t waste two.
“(It’s) execution. We have to be better from an execution standpoint.”
Said Henrik Zetterberg: “We have to do a better than (that). Maybe two of the five were good. But tight games like this, we have to get more out of the power play.”
The loss was the third consecutive defeat for the Red Wings (13-16-7, 33 points), who have gone a dismal 3-8-5 over the last 16 games since Nov. 19 (11 of a possible 32 points).
They trail Toronto by 12 points in the Atlantic Division and the New York Rangers by 11 points for a wild-card spot.
“Confidence comes from winning, so we better find a way to win,” Blashill said.
Abdelkader cut New Jersey’s lead to 2-1 with his sixth goal in the second period.
Tyler Bertuzzi, who was one of the Wings’ more noticeable players Wednesday, found Abdelkader at the dot and Abdelkader snapped a shot past goalie Cory Schneider (31 saves).
It was Abdelkader’s first goal since Dec. 5, and ended a drought of seven games without a point.
Nico Hischier, the NHL’s No. 1 overall pick in June, scored two goals and Sami Vatanen added an empty-net goal with 23 seconds left.
“Once we got our legs going, we played pretty well,” said goaltender Jimmy Howard (29 saves). “The difference is we didn’t score on the power play. We had opportunities to do it.
“We can’t get frustrated. It all comes down to we have to find ways to win games instead of coming up on the wrong side.”