Woeful offense dragging down winless Red Wings

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill looks on from the bench during the third period of the loss to Boston on Saturday.

Montreal — The Detroit Red Wings need a victory in a bad way.

The Wings and Florida are the only teams without a victory, and the Wings are coming off their worst game of the season Saturday, a terrible 8-2 loss in Boston.

Winless in five games (0-3-2), the Wings desperately need a victory over Montreal on Monday, but for that to happen, the offense needs to perk up.

For all the talk of an extremely young, inexperienced defense filling in for the Wings' many injured defensemen, there are a lot of young and old forwards who aren’t scoring.

Justin Abdelkader and Thomas Vanek are without a point, with Abdelkader possessing a minus-5 rating and Vanek a minus-6.

Michael Rasmussen and Andreas Athanasiou both have one point (assists), while Frans Nielsen has two points, both assists.

Anthony Mantha has one goal and an assist. Gustav Nyquist has four assists, but is searching for his first goal.

When you take away the contributions of Dylan Larkin (three goals, two assists) and Tyler Bertuzzi (two goals, two assists), the forwards have been largely ineffective offensively.

“We can’t panic right now,” Nielsen said. “We’ve just got to simplify and play the right way. We’re going to win games, but it’s important that we turn this around quick now because we can’t fall too far behind.”

The Wings only have 11 goals as a team – eight teams had fewer entering play Sunday – and their minus-12 goal differential was the worst in the NHL.

Martin Frk is likely to make his season debut Monday, and with 11 goals last season, Frk could provide a spark.

But the Wings are going to need more out of lot of players to get out of their present hole.

“Each guy looks in the mirror and digs in,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “There’s no easy solution to it. There’s no magic pill. There’s no tricks that we can pull out. Each guy looks in the mirror and digs in and says they’re going to be way better, says that’s unacceptable for themselves.

“You can pass blame from guy to guy and that doesn’t do any good at all. You’ve got to dig in and be better yourself.”

Injury updates

Blashill said defenseman Danny DeKeyser (hand) will see doctors Tuesday, after the Wings return home.

DeKeyser was injured early in Saturday’s loss.

One positive for the Wings is that defenseman Dennis Cholowski (upper body) is likely to return to the lineup, taking DeKeyser’s spot against Montreal.

Trevor Daley (upper body), Jonathan Ericsson (upper body) and Mike Green (infection) all remain unavailable.

Ice chips

The Wings must do a better job of managing the puck. Turnovers led to numerous Boston scoring chances.

“Whether it’s in our zone, through the neutral zone especially, then when we get chances in our offensive zone, don’t give (opponents) free opportunities to come racing at us,” Abdelkader said. “We just have to be a lot better that way if we want to win.”

… Goaltender Jimmy Howard is likely to start Monday.

Red Wings at Canadiens

Faceoff: 7:30 Monday, Bell Centre, Montreal

TV/radio: FSD/97.1

Outlook: Montreal (2-1-1, 5 points) has been a mild surprise in the early going, Saturday defeating Pittsburgh 4-3 in a shootout. … LW Tomas Tatar, the former Red Wing, had two goals and an assist Saturday. … D Jeff Petry of Orchard Lake St. Mary's played for Michigan State.


Twitter: @tkulfan