'We didn't show up': Red Wings lose 6-2 to Blackhawks, drop weekend series
The first road trip of this NHL regular season has begun badly for the Red Wings.
Chicago forward Pius Suter scored his first two NHL goals in the first period — and completed the hat trick in the third period — sparking the Blackhawks to a 6-2 victory Sunday over the Red Wings and sweeping the two-game series.
Tyler Bertuzzi scored both goals for the Wings, both on the power play.
As well as the Wings looked at times during the season-opening home stand — it was just the opposite in Chicago.
"It wasn't the hockey we played at home," forward Dylan Larkin said. "We left our goaltender out to dry and lost battles. We had an opportunity here against a team we thought we could beat twice and we didn't show up. We have to turn it around before we go down to Dallas.
"We have to figure it out fast."
Coach Jeff Blashill has generally been pleased with the compete level and energy the Wings have played with to start the season. But in these last two games, and specifically Sunday, the Wings needed more players going at full speed.
"Not good enough," Blashill said. "I don't think we were competing like crazy out there. We were competing OK, but OK doesn't cut it in this league and it won't cut it for us, for sure.
"But today starts with work and compete and our work and compete wasn't elite at all. Not close. If that's not great, nothing will help you at that point. You have to play with that to have a chance in this league."
Chicago’s Connor Murphy, Mattias Janmark and Philipp Kurashev added Blackhawks goals.
Goaltender Jonathan Bernier stopped 29 shots, while Chicago goalie Kevin Lankinen made 25 saves, completing an impressive two-game run against the Wings.
The Wings fell to 2-4 on the season, and continue this four-game road trip with games Tuesday and Thursday in Dallas.
"We just weren't good defensively," Bertuzzi said. "We needed to be better on the power play and we did a good job with that. Just 5-on-5, we have to bear down a little more."
The Wings wanted, or needed, a good start Sunday but didn’t get one.
After an early Wings power play gained little momentum, Suter scored his first goal at 4:42. Bernier made the stop on Calvin de Haan, but left a big rebound for Suter skating down wing. Suter had no problem tapping the loose puck into an open net.
Suter made it 2-0 at 9:44 on the red-hot Chicago power play, getting to the front of the net and deflecting a puck past Bernier.
The Blackhawks had their way too often in both games offensively, gaining prime position on the ice and forcing the Wings into defending.
"Body position," said Blashill of one of his disappointments. "We gave up too much body position. That had a big factor in a number of goals. They should not have free looks inside in that scoring square. We should be defending that square with layers of help in those situations. We have to do a better job of that."
Bertuzzi sliced the deficit to 2-1 early in the second period on a two-man Wings’ advantage. Bertuzzi scored his second goal, knocking in Dylan Larkin’s pass at the post.
But Janmark’s goal for Chicago at 58 seconds of the third period gave Chicago a 4-1 lead and smashed any hope of a comeback.
Patrick Kane whirled around the zone and found Janmark with inside position on Anthony Mantha, who offered little resistance near the crease.
Mantha only wound up playing 12 minutes, 50 seconds — almost three minutes less than Taro Hirose making his season debut — and saw limited ice time the rest of the third period.
"Everything is related," said Blashill of the diminished ice time. "Any of the actions that have happened throughout the season, we make decisions as we're in games as coaches as to who put out there. Again, to me, though, to shoulder it on one person is not fair.
"Our whole team has to be better."