The Red Wings discussed both their inability to hold 3rd period leads and their penalty-killing unit’s struggles in conversations with the Wings’ beat writers, and the team used similar language to describe both issues.
DetroitRedWings.com’s Dana Wakiji spoke with Justin Abdelkader and Trevor Daley about the holding-the-lead issue…
After blowing three-goal leads three times in two games against the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals, the Wings know they have to do a better job of maintaining leads.
“No lead is safe, for sure, in this league,” Justin Abdelkader said. “We played two really good teams, two teams that are dangerous offensively, probably two of the more dangerous teams offensively. It’s obviously two different situations, one was a five-minute power play, the other one, they did get the power play at the end, which definitely helped them score but they were on top of us in the third period.
“Obviously we talk about it and talk about it, but you just got to continue to play and can’t worry about what the score is, whether it’s in the third period or the second period, you got to continue to play your game and keep the foot on the gas because once you let up or kind of back away a little bit, that’s when a team can really get going, kind of like Washington did, especially in their building.”
Daley agreed that the Wings can’t sit back at all.
“It’s more to just let’s try to keep doing what got us the lead,” Daley said. “The last two, they look bad. One’s a five-minute penalty kill. That rarely happens. That’s unfortunate. The very next night, it happens again. Two totally different situations, obviously. But at the end of it, when you do get the lead you gotta maintain the reason why you got the lead and keep going.”
And coach Jeff Blashill suggested similar means by which to rectify the team’s penalty-killing issues, as the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan noted:
“We have to get our confidence back, No. 1,” said Blashill, “and understand that it’s kill by kill; we have to go out there and do it right.”
Technically, Blashill does feel the Red Wings have been letting teams too easily set up in the zone.
“Guys have to understand we have to stick to the principles of what has made us good at times,” Blashill said. “We made stands at the line, forced the puck out of the other team’s hands, had good retrievals and sent the puck down the ice. The best way for any PK is not let the other team to set up.”
Blashill was pleased with the Red Wings’ determination and work ethic in Washington, especially coming after the late-game collapse in Brooklyn.
Blashill feels it’s the same mindset in regards to the penalty kill, with the Red Wings needing to realize why and how it has been effective for a large part of this season and getting back to why it has been.
“We can (show) a lot of video clips on the PK of where we did it right,” Blashill said. “Part of having a good penalty kill is not taking too many penalties, and no undisciplined penalties. That’s part of it as well.”