Coach Jeff Blashill felt the Wings were too much on their heels against Edmonton The Detroit News
Detroit — During a three-game win streak it was the Red Wings who were the aggressor, the team that was the pushing the pace.
But that wasn’t the case Saturday and it resulted in a 4-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers — and the end of that three-game win streak.
“The last three wins, we were on our toes,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “This game, we were on our heels for too much of the game.”
Tyler Bertuzzi scored his fifth goal at 18 minutes, 34 seconds of the third period, with goaltender Jonathan Bernier pulled for the extra attacker, cutting the lead to 4-3.
But the Wings couldn't get the equalizer, the Oilers keeping the Wings at bay the final minute.
Jacob de la Rose — registering his first goal as a Red Wing — and Danny DeKeyser scored for the Wings (4-8-2, 10 points), while Bernier made 38 saves.
“The second period, we stopped skating, which generated momentum for them,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “We didn’t have enough compete on the stick battles tonight. For whatever reason there was too much watching each other and looking at the guy with the puck and seeing what he’s going to do with it instead of getting open.
“We put ourselves in trouble that we didn’t have to.”
Kyle Brodziak had two goals while Drake Caggiula and Alex Chiasson also scored for Edmonton (8-4-1, 17 points), which has gotten off to a quick start. Goaltender Mikko Koskinen stopped 23 shots.
Caggiula scored 12 seconds into the game and Chiasson at 1:15 of the second period — both goals set up by star forward Connor McDavid — and the Wings were forced to play from behind.
Goalie Jonathan Bernier on the Red Wings' 3-game win streak ending The Detroit News
“You get scored on the first shift of the game, now you’re on your heels,” Blashill said. “We got it back the second half of the (first) period, we were good, then you come out in the second period and get scored on basically on your first shift.
“Goals matter and the momentum of both of those (Edmonton’s early period goals) put us on our heels right away. They’ve got a couple of guys on that side that are world class and they spook you at times on their names alone, especially McDavid.
“We have to be 100 percent to win a hockey game and we had too many guys who weren’t near that level tonight.”
Blashill felt the Wings were too cautious defensively.
“We gave them too much ice, so they were coming at us way too much in the second period,” Blashill said. “We didn’t play in the offensive zone, so then you’re playing tons in the defensive zone and we couldn’t relieve our pressure at all.
Brodziak's second goal pushed the Oilers' lead to 4-2 at 8:57 of the third period, capping another fine shift by the Oilers' fourth line.
The Wings appeared to get a needed spark when DeKeyser’s goal cut Edmonton’s lead to 3-2 with 36 seconds left in the second period.
DeKeyser’s shot from the point hit the boards behind Koskinen, bounced directly toward Koskinen and bounded off his skate and into the net.
But the Wings’ momentum was short-lived, as was ultimately, their win streak.
“We didn’t play our best today but we still had a chance to get some points out of it,” de la Rose said. “Obviously we need to be better. We need to play like we did the last three games to win games. We can’t take days off.”