For those fans wishing hard for the Red Wings to sink to the bottom of the standings — increasing the odds for a better draft pick — it’s taking shape.
They’re losing, all right, and doing it on a consistent basis.
Monday was more of the same, with the Wings losing 5-3 in San Jose, extending their winless streak to seven (0-6-1).
Trevor Daley, Gustav Nyquist and Henrik Zetterberg all had a goal and assist, and Tyler Bertuzzi had three assists, arguably one of Bertuzzi’s best games since he joined the Red Wings.
Joonas Donskoi, Eric Fehr, Kevin Labanc, Tino Meier (power play) and Chris Tierney (empty net) had Sharks goals.
The Sharks outshot the Red Wings 34-26, with the Red Wings failing to convert two power play opportunities (San Jose was 1-for-3).
Daley’s goal gave the Red Wings an early lead, but San Jose scored two quick goals and never lost the lead.
“We started good, scored early, didn’t take advantage of a power play, had some turnovers, and suddenly we put ourselves on our heels,” coach Jeff Blashill told Fox Sports Detroit.
Zetterberg’s 10th goal, at 5 minutes, 53 seconds of the third period, cut San Jose’s lead to 4-3 — after nice work from Nyquist and Bertuzzi along the boards developed the play — just 41 seconds after Meier had given the Sharks a two-goal lead on a deflection.
But the Red Wings couldn’t get the equalizer, and Tierney’s empty-net goal ended the Red Wings’ hopes.
Don’t look now, but the Red Wings (26-32-11) are positioning themselves for an early pick with their selection in the first round (they also have Vegas’, which will be further down the first round).
Only Arizona (55 points), Buffalo (56) , Ottawa (59), Vancouver (59), and Montreal (62) have fewer points than the Red Wings.
And with three difficult games remaining on this West Coast trip (Los Angeles, Anaheim, Colorado), plus games against Philadelphia, Washington and Toronto next week, the schedule hardly looks any easier.
Which makes one wonder, how low in the standings can the Red Wings actually finish?
Here are other random observations from Monday’s game:
■Evgeny Svechnikov still isn’t getting a lot of ice time. But he’s not helping his own matters, either.
Svechnikov was minus-2 in 7:13 with one shot on net.
He needs to be harder on the puck, and might be pressing attempting to make an impact in a short period of time.
■Zetterberg’s line, alongside Nyquist and Bertuzzi, were outstanding against the Sharks.
Nyquist’s goal ended an 11-game goal-scoring drought and was only his second goal in 19 games. Zetterberg ended an 8-game drought, while also moving past Ted Lindsay all alone into 336 goals.
But Bertuzzi was particularly noticeable at both ends of the rink, and his three assists were a testament to his hard work along the boards and near the net.
Bertuzzi has found a home on Zetterberg’s line.
■Daley, with his ninth goal of the season — including four in the last nine games — and assist on Nyquist’s goal, continues with a second half offensive surge.
And, looking ahead to next season, if the Red Wings are in similar dire straits, Daley will be a very attractive piece at the trade deadline for a team looking for a steady, playoff-tested veteran defenseman (with one more year left on his contract after next season).