Minnesota skates Wild over mistake-ridden Red Wings
Detroit — Add this to the list of truly ugly Red Wings losses this season.
Now, obviously, there have been a lot. It’s a long, long list, which isn’t surprising considering the Wings have lost 51 of 66 games (15-47-4).
But there weren’t many positives in Thursday's game, very few, in a 7-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild.
Coupled with Tuesday's uninspired loss to New Jersey, and that’s two particularly lethargic losses at Little Caesars Arena since the trade deadline.
And that's after general manager Steve Yzerman asserted the remainder of the schedule will be an audition for jobs next season, and beyond.
“We just haven’t been good enough, plain and simple,” forward Luke Glendening said. “We have to take a look as a group here. I feel like we’re saying the same thing but this has to stop.”
The execution wasn’t good enough, but surprisingly, the effort wasn’t particularly good either.
“When you lose like that, a lot of times it’s a little bit of everything,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “We had a lot of guys kind of in their jerseys, too many guys just in their jerseys, but you have to go out and compete like crazy.”
Anthony Mantha scored his 14th goal, cutting the Wild’s lead to 3-1 in the second period.
But the Wild responded with three goals before the end of the period, forcing goaltender Jimmy Howard to the bench after the fifth goal allowed and leaving the Little Caesars Arena crowd totally indifferent heading into the intermission.
No booing, no mock cheering. Just a sense of let’s get this over with.
“It’s frustrating,” Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin said. “A bad showing against New Jersey, we had a great practice (Wednesday), we worked extremely hard, we were competitive and battling against each other. We had a good feeling after that practice.
“Then we just didn’t show up today.”
The Wings have lost four straight games — by a cumulative score of 19-5. They've also lost eight of their last nine, and 18 of their last 21.
Minnesota scored three goals in a span of 2 minutes, 20 seconds in the first period, then three in 7:46 in the second period to pad its statistics.
“We have the puck on our stick and something goes wrong and then it just gets worse from there,” Larkin said. “I’ve never seen anything like it. I don’t know what it is but it just seems when it goes wrong for us, it catastrophic and we can’t come back from it.”
It was another rough evening for Howard,
the Wings’ beleaguered goaltender, who saw his record fall to 2-23-2.
Howard allowed five goals on 17 shots and seemed to lose confidence as the score got away from him and the Wings.
But the team defense in front of Howard left a lot to be desired, contributing to the rout.
“I’d like to go and give him and effort where we don’t give up many chances and try to get his game back,” Blashill said. “There’s a responsibility by the team to do that and we didn’t start the game to help him. We have to, as a group, to look after each other and we talked about that in a lot of different ways, but one way is you have a guy who has had a tough year and let’s make it an easy game and we didn’t do that.”
Mantha's breakaway goal — the puck squirted through the Wild defense off a Minnesota faceoff victory and Mantha gathered it and sped away — made it 3-1 at 7:33 of the second period and injected some brief enthusiasm into the Wings, and the LCA crowd.
But Dumba's second goal, his sixth of the season, a one-timer from the low circle on the power play, restored the 3-goal lead at 10:30.
Greenway's goal ended Howard's night, and typified the Wings' evening.
Greenway out-battled or out-muscled, depending on your view, three or four Wings along the boards, then powered to the dot and fired a shot past Howard's left shoulder, Greenway's eighth goal.
“We haven’t been good enough the last two games,” Glendening said. “We have to look in the mirror and be better. We have to take the onus for what is going on.”