'Inexcusable': Red Wings sleepwalk through two periods, fall to Hurricanes

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — This could be an interesting practice Tuesday for the Red Wings.

After not working for large parts Monday of an embarrassing 3-1 loss to Carolina, coach Jeff Blashill made it sound they were going to go to work at practice.

Players should be well advised to be ready to skate. And by the sounds of it, a lot.

BOX SCORE: Hurricanes 3, Red Wings 1

“I can’t explain it,” said Blashill of the shabby two periods before finally awaking in the third. “We’ll work tomorrow to get that corrected. That’s inexcusable to not be able to work and compete at the start of the game, through the second period.

“What happens (when) you’re not ready to go and all of a sudden you’re swimming the rest of the time,” Blashill said. “We saw that for two periods and we’ll make sure (Tuesday) we’ll get that sorted out.

“Go to work tomorrow and make sure it never happens again, which we will.

“Show up at 12 (noon).”

This defeat was different from the one-sided losses in Boston and Montreal a week ago. In this game, it was mostly a lack of work.

“We lost our way in Boston and Montreal, but we didn’t not show up, we showed up,” Blashill said. “We got down and we panicked and started playing stupid hockey.

“This was not showing up. This was a different animal. It was no good.”

Carolina (5-3-1, 11 points) out-shot the Wings 39-21 – 36-12 after 40 minutes – and destroyed any momentum from the Wings’ (1-6-2, 4 points) first victory of the season Saturday in Florida.

If it wasn’t for goaltender Jimmy Howard (36 saves) in those opening two periods, it could have been worse.

“There’s no excuse the way we came out and played,” said Howard of the opening 40 minutes. “They were tenacious with the puck, they won more battles than us.

“For us, personally, in the room it’s having more pride going into those 1-on-1 battles and not letting the other team out-work you. For the first two periods tonight, they outworked us.”

Despite the poor start, the Wings still had an opportunity to steal a point, or two, late.

Andreas Athansiou cut the Carolina lead to 2-1 at 12 minutes, 2 seconds of the third period, converting a 2-on-1 break with Thomas Vanek, Athanasiou's third goal this season.

The Wings earned a power play shortly after Athanasiou's goal but despite steady pressure — Michael Rasmussen and Athanasiou had chances in close — the Hurricanes were able to escape and keep the lead.

“Two big chances,” Athanasiou said. “I don’t know how he (Mrazek) got his arm on that one (Athanasiou’s shot), I had an empty net. It’s tough, you think it’s going to be a tie game after that.”

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Said Blashill: “That was the message into the third, we were thankfully down 2-0, on the power play, so let’s go steal a point here. We had a couple good looks. We could have stolen a point, potentially.”

A Hurricanes delay of game penalty with 1:44 left in regulation time gave the Wings ample hope. But despite a two-man advantage, after pulling Howard, Jordan Martinook scored into an empty net at 19:16 to make it 3-1.

Bottom line, though, the Wings probably didn’t deserve any points with that effort.

“We didn’t deserve it one bit,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said.

Justin Faulk and Micheal Ferland had Carolina power-play goals and former teammate goalie Petr Mrazek stopped 20 shots against the Wings.

Carolina entered this game 2-for-30 on the power play (6.7 percent) entering this game but it didn’t show against the Wings, scoring twice to gain control of the game.

The Wings didn’t register their first shot on Mrazek until defenseman Dennis Cholowski skated up ice and lifted a shot with 6:25 left in the first period.

The Hurricanes had 14 shots at that point.

“When you don’t even play, it’s tough giving yourself a chance,” Kronwall said. “We were a step behind. How do I explain that? I don’t know. We just weren’t there.”


Twitter: @tkulfan