Red Wings' frustration rises as losses pile up
Denver — There aren’t many folks within the Red Wings locker room that have gone through 10-game winless streaks on the professional level.
Sunday’s 5-1 loss in Colorado put the Red Wings winless streak at 10 games (nine losses in regulation time, one in overtime), and frustration boiled over.
Justin Abdelkader was given a misconduct penalty with just under five minutes left in the game after Colorado scored a power-play goal following a crosschecking penalty assessed to Abdelkader.
There were grim faces after the game, as the defeats continue to mount.
With three weeks left in the season, and playing for pride at this point, the atmosphere is unusual for this organization.
“Very frustrating for sure,” Abdelkader said. “Lose 10 in a row, that’s not fun.
“It’s a learning experience for everyone. For sure not a lot of guys have been through this; certainly I haven’t, and it’s not fun. It’s not a fun position to be in. But we can learn from it and be better and continue to go out each night and work hard and win our battles.”
Abdelkader didn’t comment on his penalty, and admitted he shouldn’t have said anything to the referee on the way to the bench, where he slammed his stick on the bench.
But the frustration of losing, and losing so often, is creeping in — and the Red Wings can’t let it seep in totally with three weeks left in the regular season.
“We just have to dig in and continue to come to work each day and compete as hard as we can,” said Abdelkader, who scored the Red Wings’ lone goal Sunday, his 12th of the season. “We have to compete as hard as we can and just have to find a way to keep pucks out of our net and score more goals.”
What has been especially difficult for the Red Wings — and though it sounds cliché and very much an excuse — is they have played competitively in many of these 10 losses and likely deserved a better fate.
It’s a sign of a team that continues to play hard, and hasn’t given up on the season.
“We just have to win a game here,” Abdelkader said. “We have to find a way to win. We’re working hard and we have to continue to stick together here.
“It’s not one guy, or two, or three guys that are going to do it; it’ll be a team of 20 that gets this done.
“We come Tuesday (at Little Caesars Arena against Philadelphia) and come back home now, and we’ve had a lot of games on the road here, and hopefully we can finish these last 10 games off the right way.”
Goaltender Jared Coreau lost his third consecutive decision since being promoted from Grand Rapids when Petr Mrazek was dealt to Philadelphia shortly before the trade deadline.
Coreau stopped 26 of 31 shots Sunday, but again, didn’t come up with the timely save when the Red Wings needed one.
“We’re not going to win with whatever (save) percentage was today (83.9 percent); we need better than that,” Blashill said. “I’m not going to put it on him, it’s a team thing. But I’d also say, and I’ve told the team this, it’s about guys stepping up and making plays and that’s on the goaltenders too.
“You have to step up and make tons of saves. That’s what all the teams that win, do, and we’re going to need it on Tuesday to win.”
Sunday was another learning experience for Coreau.
“I’m not disappointed, I’m learning,” Coreau said. “We’re winning as a team, losing team (but) I have to take responsibility upon myself as well.
“It’s a fast game (in the NHL) and (learning) to keep the play in front of you and read it better.”
Lengthy losing streak
Sunday’s game extended the Red Wings’ winless streak to 10 games, but they have a way to go before reaching team records.
The longest winless streak in team history is 19 games, accomplished by the 1976-77 teams.
After that, according to team historian GregInnis, is 14 straight without a win (1982-83 and 1981-82), 13 (1946-47), 12 (1989-90, 1984-85, 1934-35), 11 (1983-84, 1980-81 (twice), and 1978-79) and 10, this season and 1939-40.