'It's tough': Rangers use big second period to extend Wings' losing stretch to 12 of 13
New York — The losses keep mounting for the Red Wings.
When is it ever going to end?
The Red Wings lost again Wednesday — what else is new lately — falling 5-1 to the New York Rangers.
It was the Wings’ fourth consecutive loss and extended their stretch of losing to 12 of 13 games — all after the Wings (4-12-1) had won their first three of four.
“It’s tough, the toughest stretch any of us have been through,” forward Justin Abdelkader said. “But we have to make sure we’re coming to work each and every day and we have to get better.”
During this 13-game segment, the Wings have been outscored 57-21.
It’s the first time the Wings have lost four consecutive games by four or more goals since January 1984.
“We have to find a way to get out of this,” forward Dylan Larkin said. “None of us have gone through anything like this. We don’t have the answer right now but we have to find a way to get through this.”
As usual, special teams were a significant liability. The Wings were scoreless on two power plays, while allowing the Rangers (6-6-2) two power-play goals and one shorthanded goal.
“We have to get our special teams figured out,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “We have to find a way to get better than that. Our power play has to be better. When you look at both of them (special teams) that’s what crushed us.”
Valtteri Filppula had the Wings goal.
Tony DeAngelo (power play), Chris Kreider and Ryan Strome (power play) scored Rangers goals 4:24 apart in the second period, ending a scoreless game. Greg McKegg added a third-period, shorthanded goal, and Artemi Panarin scored into an empty net.
What usually turns out to be a goaltending masterpiece between Jimmy Howard and the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist turned out to be an afterthought this time around.
Howard again struggled with one big snowball effect, allowing the three-second period goals. Howard stopped 26 shots, while Lundqvist — who has struggled similarly to Howard this season — stopped 35 shots.
Those three quick Rangers goals changed the complexion of the game.
“When things went bad, it just went bad, and we couldn’t stop the snowball effect,” Larkin said.
The Rangers’ barrage began with Adam Erne in the box for holding.
With two seconds left on the power play, DeAngelo banged in a rebound of Brendan Lemieux’s attempted jam in close, his fifth goal, giving the Rangers a 1-0 lead at 4:25.
Kreider made it 2-0 at 6:04, Kreider’s third goal, beating Howard off a rush from the dot.
The Rangers capped the explosion with another power-play goal — Abdelkader was in the box for roughing — Strome scoring his fifth goal, at 8:49, the puck bouncing off Strome off an Adam Fox shot and past Howard.
“We have to step up and make better plays,” Blashill said. “We have to be better on the (penalty) kill.”
The Wings were able to get one back, just 52 seconds after Strome’s goal, with Filppula scoring his second goal.
Filppula and Andreas Athanasiou broke free on what amounted to a 2-on-0 rush inside the zone, and Filppula swept in Athanasiou’s pass past Lundqvist.
McKegg made it 4-1 with a shorthanded goal at 8:44 of the third period, his first goal.
McKegg rushed up ice, and his shot was stopped by Howard high, the puck falling into the slot. Howard had no idea where the puck was, and McKegg raced to the loose puck and snapped a shot past Howard.
“Good teams, when they’re on the power play, they put the puck in their hands and make plays,” Larkin said. “That’s on the five guys on the ice. We have to look after the puck and find a way there to get a goal and get our team back in it and make a late push.
“That was a dagger for sure.”
Panarin scored his seventh goal, into an empty net, at 17:23, after the Wings pulled Howard for an extra attacker with over 5 minutes left.