'We hung in': Red Wings regret missed chances in OT loss to Blackhawks

Nolan Bianchi
The Detroit News
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It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.

Or so they say.

Unfortunately for the Detroit Red Wings on Monday night, they started hot, ended even hotter, but dropped the comeback attempt when Dominik Kubalik froze Thomas Greiss on a 2-on-1 in overtime as the Chicago Blackhawks escaped with a 3-2 win.

The overtime loss gave Detroit (4-10-3) points in back-to-back games for the first time this season, but was the Wings’ third loss in as many tries against the Blackhawks (8-5-4). The Red Wings were coming off a 4-2 win over the Predators in Nashville, Tenn., on Saturday.

Thomas Greiss (29) of the Detroit Red Wings watches a first-period goal get past him.

Detroit fell behind 2-0 in the first period but battled back with goals from Vladislav Namestnikov and Christian Djoos.

“We had a good start, we hung in, we battled, we played with the puck, our (penalty kill) did a great job, Greiss was great again," Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin said.

"We got a point, but gotta find a way to get the next point there."

Kubalik also scored in the first period to give Chicago a 2-0 lead after Mattias Janmark broke the ice at 4:19 to make it 1-0 on the team’s first shot on goal.

Detroit extended its scoreless streak on the power play to nine games, going 0-for-26 in that span as its percentage on the season dropped to 7.5 percent.

"We have nights where it looks not bad, then it goes backwards again," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "You struggle between going back to the drawing board and changing things all the time, but then you have no chemistry at all."

The Wings gave themselves a chance in the overtime period. Its best chance came when Filip Zadina stripped the puck from Patrick Kane to create a 3-on-1, but missed the return pass that could have given Detroit a walk-off winner.

Blackhawks rookie Pius Suter hit the goalpost with under a minute left in overtime, then received a breakout pass from Nicolas Beaudin moments later that put him and Kubalik on the run with only Namestnikov back for Detroit.

Larkin and Red Wings defenseman Filip Hronek both got caught covering Beaudin deep in the Blackhawks' zone, allowing for the pass to create a premium chance.

"I think hockey’s about taking what’s given, it’s not about trying to force things. We’ve talked about this a lot, and that’s just the reality of life," Blashill said. "I thought there was an opportunity for change there, so it's something we'll discuss tomorrow."

The Wings outshot the Blackhawks 9-4 in the third period, nearly clinching the winning goal behind chances from Larkin and Anthony Mantha, but ultimately, were forced into overtime.

"I think when we're really good, we're pressuring teams, we're on top of them," Blashill said. "We’re on top of them, we’re playing in the O-zone, making good decisions with the puck in the O-zone to extend O-zone time, and then they’d chip it out, and we’d jam it back down their throats. That’s how we want to play."

The Blackhawks took a 1-0 lead at 4:19. Carl Soderberg set up Janmark, who'd slipped behind the defense for a one-timer from the hash mark that beat Greiss blocker side.

BOX SCORE: Blackhawks 3, Red Wings 2, OT

Detroit racked up four shots on net prior to that point, including a dangerous chance from the slot by Robby Fabbri, but fell behind on Chicago's first shot of the game. 

Chicago Blackhawks left wing Dominik Kubalik (8) celebrates scoring against the Detroit Red Wings in overtime during an NHL hockey game Monday, Feb. 15, 2021, in Detroit. Chicago won 3-2.

Chicago added to its lead at 16:09 in the first. Namestnikov committed a turnover in the neutral zone, allowing Brandon Hagel to go the other way with it and find Kubalik to make it 2-0.

More:Red Wings' Robby Fabbri heats up in return from COVID-19 protocol list

Namestnikov made up for his turnover by finishing a juicy rebound with 15 seconds left in the period, cutting Detroit's deficit to 2-1 with his fourth goal of the season and third in his last six games. Patrick Nemeth assisted.

"It's hard to come back from these long road trips and find energy," Larkin said. "We did tonight, that goal got us going. It was a huge moment in the game."

Djoos' first goal as a Red Wing turned out to be a memorable one. He threw a shoulder fake at Alex Debrincat (Farmington Hills) and ripped one past Malcolm Subban from the high slot to tie the game at 5:49 in the third period.

"(I) thought it gave the team a good boost," Djoos said. "Too bad we couldn't get the win tonight. ... I think we've been playing better since the first Tampa game on the road overall. I think our details are really good now."

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Detroit poured it on to close the period, outshooting the Blackhawks 29-24, marking the fifth straight time that the Wings have outshot their opponent.

Nolan Bianchi is a freelance writer.

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