The Detroit Red Wings dropped a 5-1 decision to the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday afternoon, dropping to 0-9-and-1 over the course of their past 10 games.
If memory serves me correctly, I believe that the Red Wings will be eliminated from the playoffs if the New Jersey Devils win this evening, and the Free Press’s Helene St. James put the Wings’ losing streak in historical perspective:
The Wings fell 5-1 at Pepsi Center. Nathan MacKinnon, picked first overall by Colorado in 2013, had two goals and an assist. Gabriel Landeskog, selected second overall in 2011, had a goal and two assists, demonstrating what a difference high-end picks make.
The Wings are on an 0-9-1 skid as they head into the last 10 games of the season. They haven’t won in three weeks. The only good news: The worse they finish, the better their draft lottery odds.
The 10-game streak is the longest losing skid for the Red Wings since the team lost 14 straight from Feb. 24-March 25, 1982.
It didn’t take long for Sunday to look like it’d be another loss.
Jared Coreau got the start; the Wings have to decide whether to keep him the rest of the season, as he’s nearing 30 days with them. Past that mark, he’d have to go on waivers to be sent down.
Our friends from Denver are operating under a different set of circumstances, and they spoke glowingly of their Most Valuable Player’s dominant performance against the Wings, as the Denver Post’s Mike Chambers noted:
[Nathan MacKinnon], who entered the game against the Red Wings with 36 goals — the most since Joe Sakic had 36 in the 2006-07 season — scored twice to become the Avs’ most prolific goal scorer since Milan Hejduk won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy with 50 in 2002-03.
MacKinnon’s 38th on the season at 7:09 of the third period gave Colorado a three-goal lead en route to a 5-1 triumph over the Red Wings in front of a sellout crowd at the Pepsi Center. MacKinnon played in his 64th game of the season, missing eight because of a shoulder injury. He leads the NHL in points per game (1.39), and he also is leading the NHL’s worst team of 2016-17 into a Western Conference playoff position.
Chants of “M-V-P, M-V-P …” were heard throughout the third period and during MacKinnon’s on-ice television interview as the No. 1 star of Sunday’s game.
Sakic won the Hart Trophy in 2001 and Peter Forsberg won it in 2003. MacKinnon could become the third Avalanche player to win the MVP award.
“If we get in the playoffs, for me, he’s the MVP,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said of MacKinnon, who extended his points streak to 12 games Sunday. “I can’t imagine there is another player who means more to their team, and doing more for their team, than Nate’s doing for us. That’s just the way I see it. He is the driving force to our offense. And it’s consistent. It’s multiple-point games — seems like every night.”
Detroit lost its 10th consecutive game (0-9-1), largely because of MacKinnon and his wingers, Gabe Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen. The potent MGM Line had a hand in four goals, including Tyson Barrie‘s 5-on-3 power play late in the game. Landeskog had a goal and two assists, and Rantanen chipped in two helpers.
NHL.com’s Rick Sadowski’s recap picks up the narrative from there…
The Avalanche took a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Landeskog and Comeau. Landeskog scored at 3:58 when he tipped in MacKinnon’s shot. Comeau scored at 14:38 driving to the net to redirect Carl Soderberg‘s pass from the right circle.
MacKinnon gave Colorado a 3-0 lead at 11:14 of the second period with his 37th goal, putting a backhand shot past Coreau’s left arm.
The Red Wings made it 3-1 at 12:38 of the second on Abdelkader’s goal with a shot from the base of the left face-off circle.
MacKinnon scored his second goal of the game and 38th of the season at 7:09 of the third to give the Avalanche a 4-1 lead. He skated into the Red Wings zone and put a wraparound into the net off Detroit defenseman Jonathan Ericsson.
Barrie made it 5-1 at 16:26 on a 5-on-3 power play to extend his point streak to 10 games (five goals, eight assists).
Edit/update: Also from Sadowski’s updated recap:
“I’ve been impressed with this team for quite some time, what they’re doing,” Bednar said. “I don’t know how many people picked us to be where we are right now. For our guys, the age of our group, the inexperience of our group, it’s pretty impressive what they’re doing. That speaks to the leadership in the room.”
Justin Abdelkader scored, and Jared Coreau made 26 saves for the Red Wings (26-35-11), who lost their 10th straight game (0-9-1). They are 19 points behind the New Jersey Devils for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference.
“Very frustrated, for sure,” Abdelkader said. “Losing 10 in a row, it’s not fun. You just have to dig in and continue to come to work each day and compete as hard as you can. Just got to find a way to keep [pucks] out of our net and score more than them.”
And the AP’s recap will serve as our pivot point between the Avs and Red Wings’ perspectives:
The 22-year-old MacKinnon sealed the win with his 38th of the season in the third period — on a wraparound that hit off a Detroit defenseman and deflected in. It’s just the way things have been going for him.
Soon after, he was serenaded with “MVP” chants. His coach doesn’t disagree after MacKinnon became the first Colorado player to score more than 36 goals in a season since 2002-03, when Milan Hejduk had 50.
“I can’t imagine there’s another player that means more to their team and doing more for their team than what Nate’s doing for us,” Bednar said. “That’s just the way I see it. He is the driving force to our offense and it’s consistent.”
Justin Abdelkader had a goal for the Red Wings, who fell to 0-9-1 during a winless streak in which they’ve been outscored by a 41-19 margin. It’s the team’s longest winless streak since a 12-game run in 1989.
“We’re so far back, but every time we put on the Red Wings logo, you go out and play the hardest you can,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said.
Varlamov showed no signs of fatigue despite playing in his 17th straight game (15 starts). He’s been pressed into more duty of late with backup Jonathan Bernier sidelined by a concussion.
Barrie’s goal late in the third came with a two-man advantage and extended his points streak to 10 straight games. Abdelkader, who was in the penalty box, was given a misconduct after the goal and sent to the locker room. He slammed his stick on the way out.
“It’s frustration. It’s not fun,” Abdelkader said. “We’ve just got to continue to stick together here. It’s not one guy, it’s not two guys, it’s not three guys that are going to do it. It’s a team of 20.”
The Red Wings made sure to spread responsibility–not blame–for their losing streak around, and they insisted that even a 10-game losing streak would not dissuade the team from showing up and trying to play their best against Philadelphia on Tuesday, as they told St. James…
After Sunday’s 5-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center, Henrik Zetterberg talked about not letting the frustration suffocate them.
“Guys are working hard,” he said. “They put the time in non-game days and we prepare ourselves for every game. But, it almost makes it a little tougher that we have lost 10 in a row. We’re so far back, but every time you put on the Red Wing logo, you go out and play as hard as you can.”
The Wings are fourth from last place in the NHL. The losing will lead to better draft lottery odds, which is a positive. The challenge is to make it a learning experience for the group that’s going through it. The Wings return home to play Philadelphia Tuesday. It will be the 10th straight game against an opponent that has something to play for, either shoring up a playoff spot or securing home ice advantage.
What’s to learn from that?
“How hard every game is as you get as you get down to the end of the year here,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “Understanding how to fight through adversity. Nick Foles talked about it after they won the Super Bowl, how much adversity he’s had to fight through. You hope to come out stronger on the other side and that’s what life’s about. This isn’t supposed to be easy. This is the National Hockey League. Sports isn’t supposed to be easy. That’s why it feels so good when you win.
“Making sure that we fight through frustration is the No. 1 challenge. We can’t let ourselves get sidetracked by that. We have to make sure that we just keep digging here and understanding that every chance you have to put the winged wheel on is a special opportunity. I don’t care where we are in the standings, it is a special opportunity. When guys’ careers are over, they’ll wish they had these games back.”
And the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan:
Sunday’s loss extended their winless streak to an even 10 games (0-9-1). The Red Wings haven’t won since winning in overtime Feb. 25 in New York against the Rangers.
“Ten games, I don’t know, a little numb,” goaltender Jared Coreau said of the losing streak. “Running out of words to describe it. Everyone cares. It’s frustrating. I’m running out of words to say. Everyone wants to win and we really do care. The fans back home are as frustrated as we are. We want to win as bad or more than they do. We just have to stay positive.”
At least they’re returning home, having had 10 of their last 11 games on the road and clearly in need of some sort of reset.
“Our guys have done an excellent job of staying with it,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “Our competitiveness has been great. We have to make sure we fight through the frustration; you can’t have that, and just keep playing the right way.”
Justin Abdelkader had the Red Wings’ goal, while Coreau, still looking for his first win this season (0-3-0) since being recalled after the Petr Mrazek trade, stopped 26 shots.
Abdelkader, frustration obviously brewing, was tossed from the game for unsportsmanlike conduct late in the third period after Tyson Barrie’s power-play goal. Abdelkader was given a crosschecking penalty — which put the Red Wings two men down — seconds before Barrie scored.
“I’m not going to comment on any calls, there’s no point,” Abdelkader said. “Obviously I was frustrated in the penalty box. I should not have said anything to the ref, but it’s on me. It’s frustrating. It’s not fun. We have to regroup and come back Tuesday.”
Blashill made some intriguing comments to DetroitRedWings.com’s Dana Wakiji regarding the game as a whole…
Losing streak hits 10: Nothing is going right for the Wings at the moment. Although the effort is there on a nightly basis, they can’t find a way out of their skid. The last Wings team to lose more than nine in a row was the 1981-82 team, which lost a franchise-record 14 games in a row from Feb. 24, 1982 to March 25, 1982. Before this season, the Wings had had losing streaks of six games or more just three times in the previous four seasons. The Wings had a slow start Sunday but came out in the second and outshot the Avalanche, 16-8. But they only managed one goal despite having more time in the offensive zone than the Avalanche.
Quotable: “I actually thought we had a few chances in the first, too. I thought we have up too many easy chances in the first. We got to be better than that. I thought our second was excellent. We got to keep the puck out of our net more, it’s hurting our momentum. We’re getting momentum and then the puck goes in your net. We’re not scoring enough, but I think part of that is usually what happens you have momentum, and then you eventually score. Right now it seems like when we’re building that momentum we’re getting scored on, so we got to make sure we do a better job of keeping the puck out of our net.” – Wings coach Jeff Blashill
As well as Jared Coreau’s struggles:
Quotable II: “I’m not putting it on him. This is a team thing. But I also would say I’ve talked to our team about guys have to step up and make plays. That’s the goaltenders, too. You gotta step up and make tons of saves here. That’s what all the teams that win the league do. We’re gonna need that on Tuesday to win.” – Blashill
As Justin Abdelkader told the Detroit News’s Kulfan, the Wings can only come out with their best possible effort against the Flyers…
“We just have to dig in and continue to come to work each day and compete as hard as we can,” said Abdelkader, who scored the Red Wings’ lone goal Sunday, his 12th of the season. “We have to compete as hard as we can and just have to find a way to keep pucks out of our net and score more goals.”
What has been especially difficult for the Red Wings — and though it sounds cliché and very much an excuse — is they have played competitively in many of these 10 losses and likely deserved a better fate. It’s a sign of a team that continues to play hard, and hasn’t given up on the season.
“We just have to win a game here,” Abdelkader said. “We have to find a way to win. We’re working hard and we have to continue to stick together here. It’s not one guy, or two, or three guys that are going to do it; it’ll be a team of 20 that gets this done.
“We come Tuesday (at Little Caesars Arena against Philadelphia) and come back home now, and we’ve had a lot of games on the road here, and hopefully we can finish these last 10 games off the right way.”
But there’s no doubt that the Wings are getting close to being historically “bad” this season:
Sunday’s game extended the Red Wings’ winless streak to 10 games, but they have a way to go before reaching team records.
The longest winless streak in team history is 19 games, accomplished by the 1976-77 teams.
After that, according to team historian GregInnis, is 14 straight without a win (1982-83 and 1981-82), 13 (1946-47), 12 (1989-90, 1984-85, 1934-35), 11 (1983-84, 1980-81 (twice), and 1978-79) and 10, this season and 1939-40.
Highlights: NHL.com posted a 3:40 highlight clip….
Fox Sports Detroit posted clips of Nick Jensen…
The Detroit News posted a 10-image gallery;
The Denver post embedded a 12-image gallery in its website’s recap;
ESPN posted an 18-image gallery.
Here’s the Game Summary…
And the Event Summary:
The final shot attempts were 54-45 Detroit.
Red Wings notebooks and also of Red Wings-related note: DetroitRedWings.com’s Dana Wakiji filed a pre-game notebook which included this tidbit:
The team is fighting through an 0-8-1 skid and a winless trip so far but the team’s effort has not been a problem.
“The compete and effort’s been there 100 percent, there’s no question about it,” Blashill said. “I’m actually real proud of the way the guys have continued to fight. We’ve been kicked lots this year in a lot of ways and I think we’ve kept getting back up. Now we’ve got to keep doing it. We’ll have a challenge here today, this is a high-octane offense so we got to make sure we’re playing at that high level. We got to compete and work like crazy to win. We know that so let’s keep competing and working like crazy. Now find a way to eliminate some unneeded mistakes. We’ve made too many mistakes for sure so we got to eliminate those unforced errors. It hasn’t been a lack of will or compete or work ethic.”