Red Wings 'better defensively,' lose 2-1 in overtime to Stars in Dallas
After two ugly losses in Chicago over the weekend this felt much better for the Red Wings.
But not completely satisfying, not one bit.
Dallas forward Jason Dickinson scored 1 minute 32 seconds into overtime, giving the Stars a hard-fought, grinding 2-1 victory over the Red Wings.
Stars defenseman John Klingberg made a nifty move with the puck and found Dickinson in the slot, who one-timed a shot past goalie Thomas Greiss.
It was a gut-punch way to lose considering the steps forward the Wings did make.
"There are things to build on," forward Luke Glendening said. "In Chicago, we had a pretty tough time. But there are things to build on and we have to continue to get better. We weren't good enough tonight."
The Red Wings were significantly better defensively, limiting Dallas to 22 shots (the Wings only had 21 in the grinding game) and not giving the Stars much space to skate.
"We weren't very good in Chicago, it was way too wide open," said forward Vladislav Namestnikov, who scored the Wings lone goal, his first this season. "We talked about how we wanted to come out and make it hard on them and a play a tight defensive game.
"And for 60 minutes, we did that."
This time of tight, tough-minded defensive style is the type of game the Wings need to play, especially with the offense missing out of the lineup.
"It's the type of game we have to play regardless of who is in the lineup, and certainly with the people we have out of the lineup, it's critical we play that way," coach Jeff Blashill said. "If you think back to the Columbus game in overtime we won (Jan. 19), there were very few chances both ways. That's the way we'll have to play. We have to make sure we're a good team defensively that protects that critical ice and is good structurally and we get our offense having the puck more."
The Wings (2-4-1) are winless over the last three games and face Dallas on Thursday to cap the two-game series.
Namestikov scored his first goal as Red Wing, and this season, to open the game’s scoring.
Givani Smith gathered the puck after a dump in, found Taro Hirose behind the net, and Hirose found Namestnikov in front, who backhanded a shot past goalie Anton Khudobin.
Namestnikov had been without a point through six games.
"I had plenty of opportunities to score but sometimes that's how hockey goes and they don't go in," Namestnikov said. "A goal like that squeezes in there, I'm glad to get that first one but it would have been nice to get the win here."
Hirose and Smith both played under 10 minutes, but made positive impressions in their limited time.
"They did a good job overall, they really did, and probably deserved more minutes," Blashill said. "That might be something we look at, and make sure they're getting the minutes they deserve. They created some zone time."
Klingberg tied the game 1-1 in the second period with Dallas’ mind-boggling ninth power play goal in three games (in 16 power play chances).
Joe Pavelski won the draw, Klingberg got the puck at the top of the slot, and snapped a shot through a maze of bodies that glanced off defenseman Patrik Nemeth and past Greiss.
"We knew their power play was hot and we took a few too many penalties and it cost us," Glendening said.
The Wings were 0-for-3 on the power play, including an opportunity with 4:09 left in the game, with the score 1-1.
Still, the sound defensive game against a Dallas team missing several star players off last season's Stanley Cup finalist squad was a development the Wings were pleased with.
"Better defensively for sure," said Blashill, when compared to the Chicago weekend series. "We did a better job of our structure defensively, 5-on-5, we did a better job overall protecting the middle. Those things are positive, (but) there are certainly a lot of areas we can get better at."