'We're all part of the problem': Red Wings grasping for answers after 12th straight loss
Winnipeg, Manitoba — If you’ve watched the Red Wings often enough this season, you saw this type of loss before.
The Wings hung tough, then out of nowhere allowed three-second period goals in a two-minute span, and it led to the Jets defeating the Wings 5-1.
If the Wings allow one goal, there has to be another coming soon. It’s been like that often this season and it happened once more Tuesday in Winnipeg.
“We can’t seem to stop the bleeding,” forward Luke Glendening said. “Once it starts we have a tough time slowing it down. Basically three shifts in a row and part of that is we get stuck in our own zone and we’re too tired to get it (the puck) out.
“But we expect better of ourselves. I apologize, I don’t have a whole lot (of answers). I feel like I keep saying the same things, but it’s enough, we have to do something about it.”
To add a bit more salt in the wound, the Wings’ plane had mechanical issues. They were forced to spend the night in Winnipeg, mulling over another ugly loss.
“It’s not even Christmas yet and this has happened too many times and it’s not acceptable,” forward Dylan Larkin said. “But we have to find an answer, and it’s internally as a group to go out and execute and that’s what it comes down to right now.”
The Jets' explosion changed the complexion of the game, made the third period rather uneventful and sent the Wings to another defeat.
So, if you’re counting, that’s 12 consecutive losses for the Wings (7-22-3) including the last 10 in regulation (0-10-2).
The Wings and Jets (19-10-2) complete the back-to-back set Thursday at Little Caesars Arena.
“We have to find a way to win a hockey game and find a way to get confidence and moxie into us,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “We’re not a good enough team right now. The only people that change that is us, so there’s no secret answer.
“I don’t think as the game went along, when we got down, we didn’t defend real well and we have to be a team that defends great. We’re not scoring at all, so we better find a way to defend great. We got loose defensively and we can’t do that.”
Goaltender Eric Comrie made his first start as a Red Wing and first NHL start this season, and stopped 25 shots, and was sharp until the Jets broke open the game.
“He was great,” Glendening said. “He came in and played real well. We left him out to dry multiple times and it’s unfair to him. He was composed in there and did a nice job.”
Christoffer Ehn scored the lone Wings goal — also his first point in his 23rd game — with a game-tying goal at 7 minutes, 39 seconds of the second period.
Ehn scored on goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (Commerce Twp.), who relieved goaltender Laurent Brossoit because of Brossoit’s skate issue.
But the Jets regained control beginning with Blake Wheeler’s blast in the slot at 16:43, an Andrew Copp (Ann Arbor) deflection at 18:32, and Patrik Laine’s breakaway at 18:43.
Just like that, in two minutes, it was 4-1 Jets and the Wings were hopelessly behind yet again.
“We talked as a team before the game that they’re a team that if their forwards have the puck a lot, they’re a very good hockey team,” Blashill said. “We had to defend them, and we did early.
“We didn’t spend enough time in their zone (in the second period) and we turned pucks over and we made soft plays in the offensive zone and ended up playing tired.”
Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele scored a power-play goal at 5:04 of the third period, pushing the Jets’ lead to 5-1 — and it was Adam Lowry who opened the Jets' scoring with a disputed short-handed goal at 12:17 of the first period.
The Wings were scoreless on four power-play attempts while killing five of six Winnipeg power plays (and allowing the one short-handed goal).
One staggering statistic to mull right now: with this loss, the goal differential is a minus-62 after 32 games.
“We have to stick together,” Glendening said. “We’re all part of the problem here, we all want to be the solution.”