New Season, More Of The Same?
Two games into the NHL regular season, the signposts are familiar ones to the Detroit Red Wings. An overtime loss in Game 1 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Wings were 3-12 in OT last season.
A one-goal setback in the opener, and a 4-2 loss with an empty-net goals Sunday at Los Angeles - essentially another one-goal defeat. The Wings lost an NHL-high 27 one-goal decisions last season.
Two goals scored in each loss, for a team that failed to get to three goals in 42 of 82 games last season.
“It’s not an easy league to play catch-up in,” Wings coach Jeff Blashill told DetroitRedWings.com. “We had opportunities to score that we didn’t. We’ve got to score on a few more of our chances. All we can do is focus on making sure we’re getting better.
“I thought there was a lot of things we did good. I thought we got better from the Columbus game. That’s more the way we need to play hockey. We got to make sure we repeat a lot of that performance (against the Anaheim Ducks on Monday) and find a way to score a little bit more.”
Maybe the 0-1-1 start could be an omen of better things to come. The last two seasons - 4-1 last season and 6-2 in 2016-17 - the Wings started off well and steadily got worse.
“It was good to see that we can play like that,” center Frans Nielsen said. “I think we just talked about if we can keep competing and play the way we did, we’re going to win a lot of hockey games.”
A good omen is the Detroit power play, which scored twice on Sunday and is 3-for-7 so far.
“I thought the first one was good, too, and didn’t score,” Blashill said. “And then scored on a couple after that. I think it’s been pretty good. We’ve had a pretty good mentality. Obviously, a couple different players on it with Thomas Vanek back with us. I think (Dennis) Cholowski’s done a good job on it, and Ras (Michael Rasmussen) has, too.
“It’s been a good start for the power play. It’s going to be critical, both penalty kill and power play for us. With the thin margin for error we have, our specialty teams have to be great.”
Just back from injury, Wings defenseman Trevor Daley is on the shelf again after leaving the ice during Sunday’s loss.
“He’s out (tonight),” Blashill said. “Other than that, I don’t know any further. Upper-body injury.”
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