Red Wings 'work harder' but still lose to Blue Jackets
Detroit — It wasn’t as bad as it was 24 hours earlier when the Red Wings looked befuddled at times.
You had the sense it wasn’t going to be that ugly again. Professionalism and pride were going to take over.
After Friday’s 3-2 loss in Columbus, there wasn’t the ugly feeling of the night before, losing soundly to expansion Vegas.
This time, the Red Wings felt they did enough to have deserved a better fate.
“There were a few chances here and there that we’d like to clean up,” said captain Henrik Zetterberg, who didn’t mince words about his team’s play after the Vegas loss. “We gave them (the Blue Jackets) three (goals), we should have scored more than two. We had a lot of chances.
“We worked harder, we did things right, and everyone showed up.”
But, still, the Red Wings are losing.
Friday’s loss extended their winless streak to six games (0-5-1). Victories have been rare for a while, actually, as the Red Wings (26-31-11, 63 points) have won only three times in the last 13 games (3-8-2).
“Any loss is not fun, no matter how many goals it’s by,” said Andreas Athanasiou, whose 14th goal cut the Columbus lead to 3-2 with 3:43 left. “When you’re in a tight game, you don’t want to lose. It’s never a good feeling. You just have to put it in the past and get ready for the road trip coming up.”
After Athanasiou’s goal, the Red Wings pressed hard and had Columbus hemmed in after pulling goalie Jared Coreau.
Darren Helm, who scored the Red Wings’ first goal, had a glorious scoring chance with about five seconds left but was stopped by goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.
“It was close,” Zetterberg said. “We battled hard to the last minute. We kept pucks in and eventually, Helmer gets a chance, and it was close.”
In case you’re wondering, there are 14 games left. With the way things are going, it’s fair to wonder how many victories are in those 14 games.
Columbus (36-28-5, 77 points), incidentally, has won four consecutive games, and in case you’re still interested, extended their lead over the Red Wings to 14 points for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
But that wasn’t as necessarily vital Friday as coming back from a disheartening overall effort 24 hours earlier and showing more moxie.
“The start certainly was more competitive, the start was excellent,” coach Jeff Blashill said. "We came out and played the way you had to.
“They started us to grind us a little bit (in the second period), we had trouble getting out of our end. We kind of bogged down with some turnovers. We have to be better in that area, but we hung with it and made it 3-2 and had an unreal look at the end.”
Coreau, who was pulled in his season debut Tuesday in Boston, made it through the entire 60 minutes against the Blue Jackets stopping 33 shots.
“After it was 3-1 he kept us in the game and gave us a chance,” Blashill said. “Next thing you know, it’s 3-2 and we had two minutes of empty-net opportunities and that was because Jared had done a good job.”
Said Coreau: “That’s something every goalie talks about, short-term memory. I felt pretty comfortable before the game.”
Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones scored two goals, both off the rush, and Matt Calvert opened the scoring with the short-handed goal.