Wings blanked 3-0 in Montreal, 0-3 without Tyler Bertuzzi in Canada
Montreal — The Red Wings have been the perfect tonic for the Montreal Canadiens this season.
The Canadiens only have three wins this season, they're 3-8-0, but two of them have come against the Wings, including Tuesday's 3-0 victory.
The score, though, probably was kinder to the Wings than it should have. The Wings were miles from really winning this game.
"They were better than us from the drop of the puck, the first shift all the way to the last shift," coach Jeff Blashill said. "They played like it was a playoff game and we played like it was an exhibition game. That's not even close to what we need to do in order to be successful. It wasn't in the hemisphere in what we need to do.
BOX SCORE: Canadiens 3, Red Wings 0
"We have to be the team that plays like it's the playoff game and our battle level has to be way higher, compete level way higher and our work ethic has to be better. All those factors weren't even close."
The Wings were without forwards Dylan Larkin (personal reasons) and Tyler Bertuzzi (unvaccinated), and they dearly missed the offense the two could have provided. Detroit is now 0-3 without Bertuzzi in the lineup in Canada.
But it was more allowing Montreal to gather momentum right off the first shift in the game. The Canadiens scored 2 minutes, 6 seconds into the game on Nick Suzuki's goal, and the Wings were playing from behind early.
"I wasn't happy with the way we played," Blashill said. "We had a bunch of players not even close to what they're capable of. We didn't create any pressure on their defense, in the third (period) especially.
"It's inexcusable. We have to be way better than that."
The Canadiens are known to feed off the energy and momentum the Bell Centre crowd can instigate, and it was a factor in this game.
More: No Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi, but Red Wings confident these days because of depth
"It's a tough building to play in, it's a momentum building, and they came out right from the first shift and kind of titled the ice," defenseman Danny DeKeyser said. "They scored a couple of goals and the way they started really benefitted them. We would have liked to have come out a little bit harder and get a few more shots.
"We made it too easy."
Goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 38 shots and kept the Wings close with timely saves throughout the game. Montreal's Jake Allen made 22 saves for his shutout.
Nedeljkovic was easily the lone bright spot for the Wings.
"Since the last part of the Chicago game (Oct. 24) until now, he's started to find a groove a little bit and he certainly played well and kept us in the game (Tuesday)," Blashill said,
But the Wings (4-4-2) couldn't supply enough offense. Of particular frustration was having two consecutive power plays midway in the second period - including 26 seconds of a two-man advantage - and coming away with no goals, even no shots on goal.
"You have to find ways to score a goal in those situations," Blashill said. "But our PP mimicked our five-on-five play, our execution wasn't very good and work ethic wasn't good enough and will that said, Ned kept us in the game."
Suzuki gave Montreal a 1-0 lead converting on a 2-on-1 rush from the blueline in, flipping a shot over Nedeljkovic's shoulder for Suzuki's first goal this season.
Josh Anderson extended the lead to 2-0 with his third goal, a rush down the wing.
The Wings squandered the power-play opportunities in the second period, while arguably getting their best chance to get back in the game.
In the third period, the Wings struggled to put anything of substance going offensively, with Montreal content to sit back and defend. Montreal's Brendan Gallagher scored into an empty net to end the scoring.
"Anytime you're without those guys (Larkin, Bertuzzi) those are some of our workhorses but tonight we were not able to find other ways to (find) offense," DeKeyser said. "Whether those guys are in or not, we have to find ways to score goals and try to be in games. Ned gave us a chance, but we have to put the puck in the net."
Montreal has defeated the Wings two games this season, after the Wings swept the four-game season series in 2019-20 - and Montreal had swept the four games the season before (2018-19).