Dallas — Critical mistakes on special teams were costly to the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night, and they began the second half of their season with a 4-1 loss to the Dallas Stars.
Dylan Larkin opened the scoring but the Wings couldn’t generate another goal all evening, unable to build upon Tuesday’s rare victory.
Roope Hintz (short-handed), Radek Faksa (power play), Joe Pavelski and Andrej Sekera (short-handed) scored Stars goals as Dallas won the special teams battle with three such goals, and capitalized on Wings turnovers.
“We made what I would say totally preventable mistakes and gave away goals and chances for no reason,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “We work too hard to try to create offense, work too hard to create offensive zone time, to give away those easy chances. We have to be better at that, and our specialty teams have to be better.”
The Red Wings dropped their NHL-worst record to 10-29-3.
Larkin opened the scoring with his 10th goal at 3:47 of the first period.
Robby Fabbri left a drop pass for Larkin between the hashmarks and Larkin snapped a shot past goaltender Anton Khudobin blocker side.
But the Stars began the slow climb back, as the Wings normally allow teams to do.
In the midst of a four-minute power play — Dallas forward Radek Faksa for high sticking — the Wings allowed Hintz's short-handed goal, his 14th goal, off an errant pass by Fabbri, leading to a 2-on-0 rush on Bernier.
The short-handed goal ignited the Stars.
With Madison Bowey off for holding at 1:14 of the second period, Faksa scored his ninth goal, deflecting Esa Lindell's shot from the high slot at 1:36.
The Stars pushed the lead to 3-1 at 11:42 of the second period, with Pavelski — who was given a sliver stick before the game acknowledging his recent 1,000th career game — scoring his eighth goal, beating Bernier off a 2-on-1 rush after a Bowey turnover.
“We just have to make sure we’re not giving away easy chances, breakaways, 2-on-0s, those will hurt you and that’s not winning hockey,” Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader said.
Blashill said the Wings need to be content with the game situation at hand.
“Both the first and third goals (against) were direct result of puck decisions, and we just have to be better than that,” Blashill said. “We have to be OK with the game being 1-0 and 1-1. You can’t force things that aren’t there.”
Sekera capped the scoring after the Wings had pulled Bernier after a Dallas delay-of-game penalty for a 6-on-4 advantage. It didn't matter; the Stars gained possession of the puck, and Sekera fired a shot from the high slot for his second goal.
The Wings only had five shots on net in the third period, as the Stars did a fine job shutting things down defensively.
“They really locked us down and we didn’t do a good job of getting pucks through the neutral zone,” Larkin said. “Give them credit, they bottled us up and made it real hard to get into the zone.”
The Wings were 0-for-5 on the power play, while also allowing the two short-handed goals. A unit that has struggled all season truly had a forgettable game.
“We’re all good players, so we need to go out and execute and make plays, make tape-to-tape passes and get the puck down there and around the net,” Larkin said.