Red Wings ‘stopped playing the right way’

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Columbus — If the Red Wings are to get where they want to be, back among the NHL elite, they’ll do so by learning from these types of nights.

Tuesday’s 5-4 overtime loss to Columbus was a classic example of what has often hurt the Red Wings this season.

The Wings held a 4-1 lead and had complete control of the game, then self-destructed.

“We stopped playing the right way,” coach Jeff Blashill said.

Stopping to fight for pucks, playing through bodies, coming back in your own end, making it hard to create offense — all details of the game that often mean the difference between winning or losing.

For a little over the first 20 minutes of Tuesday’s game, the Red Wings were doing these of things.

But it quickly got away from them.

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“We started to cheat, stay out (on the ice too) long,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “A lot of (players) thought it was going to be a point night. It doesn’t matter who we play, it hurts the way we do it. It’s something we’ve been talking about over and over again and we still go out and do the same things.

“The learning curve should be that you should play the right way. It doesn’t matter if you’re up 4-1 or 2-1. Or if you’re losing. The more you cheat, the less offense you’ll play.”

Blashill and several players felt this was another learning experience during a painful season. There have been too many similar losses to soften the disappointment for anyone.

At some point, the lessons have to be learned.

“Everybody associated with the Red Wings ultimately wants to be back in a position where we’re on top,” Blashill said. “But there’s a lot of painful moments along the way. This was one of them. The second period (Tuesday, out-shot 20-3 and allowing Columbus to get back in the game) was one of them.

“Sometimes you get a 4-1 lead and it’s a little bit of fool’s gold in the sense there’s tons of hockey left. It wasn’t like we were dominating the game.

“Especially for some of our young guys, it’s a huge learning experience. It’s not point night. You can’t cheat for offense in this league. You have no chance to win (that way) and usually end up playing defense the whole time.”


The Wings reassigned defenseman Joe Hicketts, forward Evgeny Svechnikov and goalie Tom McCollum to Grand Rapids. The Griffins, the Red Wings’ minor-league affiliate, are trail divison-leading Chicago by one point with five games remaining in the regular season.

Hicketts had three assists in four games, averaging over 17 minutes of ice time, and showing fine quarterbacking ability on the power play (along with a couple defensive lapses).

Svechnikov had four points (two goals, two assists) in 14 games, averaging just under 9 minutes of ice time.

McCollum was recalled Tuesday when Jared Coreau, who was supposed to start against the Blue Jackets, became ill.

Coreau is expected to return to Grand Rapids after the Red Wings’ season concludes Saturday.


The Red Wings were off Wednesday.

… Tyler Bertuzzi had his first two-goal game in the NHL in Tuesday’s loss and has four goals in the last six games.

“It feels good, (but) it helps when you’re getting passes from Henrik and Gus (Nyquist),” Bertuzzi said. “I’m just going to learn from this season. You learn and move forward.”

… Zetterberg moved into fifth all-time in the Red Wings’ points list with three assists Tuesday (957 points).

“He leads us most nights, that’s no secret,” Nyquist said. “It’s been great to see how good he’s been all these years. It’s nice to see him get to that milestone as well.”

… Luke Glendening (upper-body injury) left Tuesday’s game in the second period and his availability for the final two games is unclear.


Faceoff: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit

TV/radio: FSD/97.1

Outlook: The Canadiens (28-39-13, 69 points) trail the Red Wings by 3 points in the standings. … The injury-riddled Canadiens are 2-7-1 over their last 10 games. … G Carey Price (16-25-7, 3.09 GAA, .901 SVS) has struggled with injuries all season.