Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill after loss to Avalanche: 'We're hurting ourselves' Ted Kulfan, The Detroit News
Denver — There’s been another shift in the Red Wings-Colorado Avalanche rivalry — and, now, it’s the Red Wings on the bad end of things.
The acclaimed rivalry produced so much unforgettable hockey for over a decade, then saw the Avalanche decline and the stars from both teams retire.
But, now there’s been another shift — and Sunday’s 5-1 Avalanche victory clearly showed they’re way ahead of the Red Wings at this point.
Many, many teams are ahead of where the Red Wings (26-35-11, 63 points) are these days.
Sunday’s loss extended their winless streak to an even 10 games (0-9-1). The Red Wings haven’t won since winning in overtime Feb. 25 in New York against the Rangers.
“Ten games, I don’t know, a little numb,” goaltender Jared Coreau said of the losing streak. “Running out of words to describe it.
“Everyone cares. It’s frustrating. I’m running out of words to say. Everyone wants to win and we really do care. The fans back home are as frustrated as we are. We want to win as bad or more than they do.
“We just have to stay positive.”
At least they’re returning home, having had 10 of their last 11 games on the road and clearly in need of some sort of reset.
“Our guys have done an excellent job of staying with it,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “Our competitiveness has been great. We have to make sure we fight through the frustration; you can’t have that, and just keep playing the right way.”
Justin Abdelkader on the Red Wings' frustration of their loss to the Avalanche. Ted Kulfan, The Detroit News
Justin Abdelkader had the Red Wings’ goal, while Coreau, still looking for his first win this season (0-3-0) since being recalled after the Petr Mrazek trade, stopped 26 shots.
Abdelkader, frustration obviously brewing, was tossed from the game for unsportsmanlike conduct late in the third period after Tyson Barrie’s power-play goal.
Abdelkader was given a crosschecking penalty — which put the Red Wings two men down — seconds before Barrie scored.
“I’m not going to comment on any calls, there’s no point,” Abdelkader said. “Obviously I was frustrated in the penalty box. I should not have said anything to the ref, but it’s on me.
“It’s frustrating. It’s not fun. We have to regroup and come back Tuesday.”
Colorado (39-25-8, 86 points) was paced by MVP candidate Nathan MacKinnon, who scored two more goals to give him 38 for the season. The Red Wings had difficulty dealing with MacKinnon’s speed all afternoon.
MacKinnon’s second goal, at 7 minutes 9 seconds of the third period was the clincher, giving the Avalanche a 4-1 lead.
MacKinnon raced around defenseman Nick Jensen, wheeled behind the net, and banked a puck off Jonathan Ericson’s skate into a vacant net, Coreau having become entangled near the opposite post.
That goal sunk the Red Wings, who had pushed the start of the third period — but hadn’t scored.
“Both MacKinnon goals, we were carrying the play,” Blashill said. “In the second (period), not much going on and they come down and shot it in the net and same thing in the third, we were carrying the play and they shot it in the net.
“Those are crushers. You look back and say you only scored one, which is right, we have to score on our chances more, but we’re also hurting ourselves with the momentum.
“We have to keep it out of our net more. You have momentum, momentum, and then usually score. Right now, it seems when we’re building that momentum, we’re getting scored on.
“We have to do a better job of keeping the puck out of our net.”
Gabriel Landeskog and Blake Comeau had the other Avalanche goals, while goalie Semyon Varlamov stopped 37 shots.