‘It’s not OK’: Jeff Blashill tries to send Red Wings a message after horrible finish
Boston – The intensity and pace – and the overall mood – of Friday’s practice said it all.
Thursday’s loss in Newark, 4-1 to the New Jersey Devils, simply wasn’t good enough. Particularly those final 20 minutes, the way the Red Wings finished, not putting up much of a fight.
At practice Friday, coach Jeff Blashill and his staff made sure everyone knew that was unacceptable.
“Just to make sure it’s understood that’s not OK,” said Blashill of Thursday’s ending. “We walked out of Buffalo (Tuesday), we played a good game and we didn’t win, and sometimes you don’t win. But you play a good game and you don’t win. It’s a process and you’re all right with that.
“I wasn’t all right with last night. I want to make sure they understand that it’s not OK and we’re just not clicking off games here. We’re doing everything we can to win hockey games and what we did last night wasn’t good enough.”
Though the season is lost in terms of the standings, there is a lot to play for many of the Wings on this roster – contracts, future NHL jobs, or a place in the Wings’ organization going forward.
“There’s lots to be played for,” Blashill said. “More importantly, those that want to be part of this long-term solution here, we’re going to take steps the rest of the year, and if you want to be part of the long-term solution, you are doing everything you can to make sure we’re taking steps in the right direction.”
New Jersey scored four goals in a four-minute span and turned what was a 1-0 deficit into a 4-1 lead.
It’s been common for the Wings all season – allowing one goal and then quickly another (and sometimes another).
But the way it occurred against the Devils left everyone angry.
“When it gets tough, we have to find a way to lock it down,” forward Dylan Larkin said. “Not give them the next chance. Definitely not give them the next goal.”
The Red Wings end this four-game road trip with two difficult games – Saturday in Boston (1 p.m., FSD, 97.1) and Sunday in Pittsburgh (12:30 p.m., NBC, 97.1).
For a team struggling as badly as the Wings (14-41-4), this weekend is going to be a gut-check of sorts.
“You have to dig in and get more out of your shift,” Blashill said. “Guys have to step up on the ice and dig in and change momentum with their shifts. We didn’t do that last night and now we have to react to it and we have to be a lot better tomorrow than we were.”
It sure didn’t take forward Brendan Perlini long to get back on the ice and begin working out.
Perlini, who suffered a deep laceration around his nose and right eye during Tuesday’s game in Buffalo, put on a shielded helmet for Friday’s practice and was back at work.
“Once you kind of settle down from that and everything kind of wears off, I was feeling quite decent,” Perlini said. “It was nice to get back out there. I had the full shield, and as long as it’s protected, I felt good and the body felt fresh.”
There’s no timetable for a return, but the way Perlini was skating, it likely will not be long at all before he’s back in the lineup.
The swelling around Perlini’s eye, which was evident Thursday, had largely disappeared 24 hours later.
“A lot better for sure,” Perlini said. “I can feel it. Vision-wise, it’s good. But the bruising around the eye and my nose, it’s still a little numb, but I’m sure that’ll go away in time.
“But I’m feeling quite decent.”
Forward Darren Helm, defensemen Mike Green and Filip Hronek didn’t skate Friday, and Blashill was optimistic they’d all be ready to face the Bruins.
… The Wings have the NHL’s worst record, and Boston (35-11-12) has the best. But regardless, the Wings have won the last five games between the teams, including both games this season.
What’s been the difference in those five games?
“It’s hard for me to say, for sure,” Blashill said. “We couldn’t beat them for a long time, and now we’ve found ways to win games. They certainly had their chances in the last game (3-1 Wings victory Feb. 9) in the last game. I know we’ll get their best Saturday. They’re locked in a big race with Tampa to get the top spot (in the division). We’ll have to be ready.”
Red Wings at Bruins
Faceoff: 1 p.m. Saturday, TD Garden, Boston
TV/radio: FSD/97.1 FM
Outlook: The Bruins (35-11-12) lead the NHL with 82 points and have won eight of their last 10 games. … RW David Pastrnak (41 goals) and G Tuukka Rask (2.11 GAA, .930 SVS) are league leaders statistically.