Red Wings lament mental lapses in overtime loss

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Columbus — How many times have the Red Wings suffered a loss like this one this season?

Too often for their liking, and it happened once more just days before their season ends, a disappointing, 5-4 overtime decision to Columbus on Tuesday.

This is a game the Red Wings had in control, leading 4-1, only to stop playing smart hockey, becoming too individual and looking for offense rather playing defense, and ultimately, it cost them the game.

“It’s pretty simple, we stopped playing the right way,” forward Gustav Nyquist said. “Turned too many pucks over, made mistakes, and that’s what happens.

“It seems we’ve been in a lot of these games where this has happened, and at some point, we have to learn, and also do the right things.

“It’s a tough one.”

BOX SCORE: Blue Jackets 5, Red Wings 4

Columbus forward Pierre-Luc Dubois scored at 2 minutes, 58 seconds of overtime, capping a Blue Jackets rally of four unanswered goals.

On the bright side — for some fans, anyway — the Red Wings did earn another point in the standings, for better or worse.

They earned points for the fourth consecutive game, which gives the Red Wings 72 points (30-38-12). That keeps the Wings 26th overall, but only two points from Edmonton and Chicago (74 each) and four points from the New York Islanders (76). The lower the finish in the standings, the better the odds of a higher pick in the entry draft.

But with the recent surge of points, suddenly a draft pick in the range of sixth to ninth overall seems more probable.

But that didn’t matter to the Wings after the loss.

“Up 4-1 we stopped playing the right way,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “I said to the team after the second period we’re trying to do two things. We’re trying to win and have a lot of pride in that winged wheel on your chest, but we have to make sure we’re building as individuals and as a team toward the future.

“Enough guys took a step backward in terms of doing it the right way. You can’t play hockey the wrong way and expect to make progress.”

Tyler Bertuzzi had two goals, Gustav Nyquist and Darren Helm had the others, and Henrik Zetterberg had three assists, while Jimmy Howard stopped 36 shots and was arguably the Wings’ best player most of the night.

Zetterberg’s three points moved him past Sergei Fedorov into fifth place by himself in all-time Red Wings’ points with 957.

When Blue Jackets forward Sonny Milano scored his 14th goal at 9:22 of the third period, off a scramble in front of Howard, it cut the Red Wings lead to 4-3.

Then Artemi Panarin scored on the power play after a Danny DeKeyser holding penalty at 17:23, tying the score at 4.

“Critical mistakes at times of the games we can’t make mistakes,” said forward Dylan Larkin, whose slashing penalty led to a Columbus power play goal in the second period, cutting the lead to 4-2. “It’s happened too many times. It’s something that if we’re going to be the team we want to be … we can’t keep doing this.

“I don’t know how many times it has to happen. Not make mistakes, suck it up and win your shift, and take care of the puck and not make mistakes.”

The Red Wings lost forward Luke Glendening to an upper-body injury in the second period. Blashill didn’t have an update on Glendening’s status for the final two games of this season — Thursday against Montreal, Saturday against the Islanders, both at Little Caesars Arena.