The Detroit Red Wings were out-scored, out-shot and out-attempted en route to a 4-3 defeat at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night.
Detroit rallied from 3-1 and 4-2 deficits, but Winnipeg’s domination of the shot clock (42-33) and shot attempts (80-53) disrupted the Red Wings’ attempts to sustain possession and control of the puck in the Jets’ zone.
Our friends from Winnipeg were coming off a 3rd-period collapse against the Nashville Predators on Wednesday, so Friday’s win was particularly timely, as the Winnipeg Sun’s Paul Friesen noted:
This time, they shut the door. Three days after coughing up a two-goal, third-period lead to Nashville, the Winnipeg Jets only flirted with trouble against the Detroit Red Wings, Friday night.
The result was a much-needed 4-3 win that prevented a two-game skid on home ice and gave the Jets an extra two-point cushion on Minnesota in the race for second place in the NHL’s Central Division.
Leading 4-2 after 40 minutes, the Jets allowed the Wings to close the gap five minutes into the third, before saying enough is enough.
Of course, that’s easier against the offensively-challenged Wings than it is against the high-octane Preds.
Time now for the longest road trip of the season, five games through the East, plus a stop in Music City.
If the Jets are still comfortably in second place by then, it’ll have been a success.
The Winnipeg Sun’s Ken Wiebe noted that the Jets did their best to take the Red Wings seriously…
Being the team other teams are chasing brings its own set of challenges — though dealing with those is still better than the alternative. After overcoming a sluggish first period, the Jets opened a stretch of 15 games in 30 days with a 4-3 victory over the Red Wings at Bell MTS Place.
“It’s imperative that you do get it up to that level,” said Jets defenceman Josh Morrissey, who chipped in two assists in 21:54 of ice time. “Every team now is playing for something. For them, they’re trying to keep it tight (in the Eastern Conference standings). Obviously, they’re trying to get better all of the time. We’ve been in that position. They played a good game. You have to be ready every night in this league because with the teams and the parity, if you take a night off or you’re not ready to go, you’re going to look silly.”
The Jets, who improved to 38-17-9 on the season, open a six-game road trip against the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday night.
Jets sniper Patrik Laine continued his hot streak, blasting home a pair of goals (both of them at even strength) to give him eight goals and 13 points during a seven-game point streak.the Winnipeg Free Press’s
And then there was Dustin Byfuglien’s 4-2 marker, which ultimately stood up as the game-winner:
Fellow blue-liner Dustin Byfuglien closed out the scoring for the Jets, banging home a one-timer after a slick feed from Morrissey. That goal came at the end of a shift where the Jets had control of the puck in the offensive zone for nearly 90 seconds.
“(The Red Wings) were tired,” said Morrissey. “We had a lot of (offensive) zone time and they were gassed. The puck would go into the corner and they were pretty straight-legged. That’s where you want to keep buzzing. It was the culmination of a really good shift. We actually got a change (in) too. The line before doesn’t get any credit (on the score sheet), but they got it going.”
Morrissey continued to give the Wings praise while speaking with WinnipegJets.com’s Mitchell Clinton…
“I thought we did a lot of good things in the game against Nashville. We probably played a better game than we did tonight, even though we got the win,” said Josh Morrissey, who had two assists in the victory. “You look at Detroit, they played hard tonight. They did a lot of the things that we do to teams in the first period and throughout the game. They have a lot of speed, they really pressured us, they had good sticks. It just seemed like we never had a clean play.”
And the Jets’ coach agreed:
“We have to give them some credit in that first, they were really quick. There wasn’t a lot of room to make plays,” said head coach Paul Maurice. “I thought we made a real good adjustment in the second. Just a mental adjustment in how the game was going to be played, and the speed we needed to get to. We left a lot of offence there on some missed shots and some block shots. Then in the third, you have a game that’s going to tighten up when they scored.”
Detroit came out quickly in that third period, and after Hellebuyck made stops on both Nyquist and Andreas Athanasiou in the opening minutes, Trevor Daley would take advantage of sustained pressure in the Jets zone, and snap home his eighth of the season to pull the Red Wings within one.
But Detroit couldn’t find the equalizer, as Hellebuyck turned away the other 10 shots the visitors had in the final period.
The 24-year-old goaltender is now 9-1-3 after allowing four or more goals in his previous start.
“It means a lot. It’s what I’m there for. It’s my job,” said Hellebuyck, who made 30 saves overall. “We’re going to dominate for a period, and teams don’t go away. They’re going to grind and they’re going to have their push. I’m excited to get there and work on the process. Today was a good learning curve for me.”
And Patrik Laine? For the Jets’ juggernaut of a goal-scorer, skating is everything, as the Winnipeg Free Press’s Mike Sawatzky noted:
On Friday night, the sophomore right-winger scored his team-leading 32nd and 33rd goals to power the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-3 triumph over the Detroit Red Wings in NHL action before 15,321 fans at Bell MTS Place.
Laine, Winnipeg’s second-overall choice in the 2016 NHL Draft, now has eight goals and 13 points in his last seven games. He is only three shy of equalling the 36 goals he scored in 73 games during his rookie season.
“I think I just started to skate more,” said Laine. “I just try to work hard and play as simple as can and I think that’s the biggest reason why I’m getting rewarded. It’s just the skating, (that’s) the biggest thing.”
Jets head coach Paul Maurice’s explanation was even more direct.
“His feet. He’s skating. He’s driving harder,” said Maurice. “He’s skating better, with and without the puck and because of that, his timing is right and everything else is falling into place for him.”
NHL.com’s Scott Billeck’s recap will serve as our pivot point between the Jets and Red Wings’ perspectives:
“This was a good building day for us,” Hellebuyck said. “I know we have better and we want to shut teams down. This is a good steppingstone to realize we have more to give. We worked hard enough to get it done.”
“It’s another one-goal loss here,” Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “We can say that we were close and that we battled hard in the third, but there’s no reason for us to be in that situation.”
Detroit (26-28-10) is seven points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. Jimmy Howard made 38 saves.
Kronwall gave the Red Wings a 1-0 lead when he scored on the power play at 12:46 of the first period with a slap shot from the point.
Laine tied the game 1-1 at 13:24 with a quick wrist shot after taking a pass from defenseman Tyler Myers in the right face-off circle.
Chiarot gave the Jets a 2-1 lead when his point shot beat Howard high to the glove side at 13:50. It was his first goal of the season, ending a 38-game drought dating to March 19, 2017.
“When you give them the space and give them the puck back all of the time, they’re going to make you pay,” Kronwall said. “It’s tough when you dig yourself a whole like that.”
As the Canadian Press’s recap noted, the Red Wings are tired of the same old song and dance:
“It’s another one-goal loss here. We can say that we were close and that we battled hard in the third but there’s no reason for us to be in that situation,” Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “We’re not consistent enough.”
Kronwall opened the scoring midway through the first period on Detroit’s only power play.
Winnipeg responded with two goals in a 26-second span to take the lead.
Just 38 seconds after Kronwall’s goal, Laine scored his first with a wrist shot following a Detroit turnover. Chiarot added his first goal of the season with a soaring shot from the perimeter.
“I thought we started off pretty good, came out with a lot of energy,” Kronwall said. “We made it too hard on ourselves, kept turning the puck over. They’re a good team. When you give them the space and give them the puck back all of the time, they’re going to make you pay.”
Coach Blashill didn’t issue the kind of post-game growl that Zetterberg or Kronwall did, but he wasn’t satisfied with his team’s effort, either:
“Too many unforced errors, mistakes on goals that we didn’t need to make,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “We were playing real good and kind of gave away two goals. We have to be way better, we have to make teams earn it. We have to make sure that we’re out-working, out-competing, out-detailing our opponents on a nightly basis. We didn’t out-detail them enough tonight.”
The Red Wings took the early lead on Kronwall’s third goal.
On the power play, Zetterberg found Kronwall at the point and the veteran defenseman ripped a shot toward the net that goalie Connor Hellebuyck (Clinton Township) couldn’t see with three big bodies (one being Justin Abdelkader) blocking his view near the crease.
The Red Wings were never able to gain hold of the lead in the second period.
“We competed real well in the first and third, not so much in the second,” said Howard, who stopped 38 shots. “It’s frustrating for all of us. It’s tough. We can’t be satisfied with it.”
Said Kronwall: “We’re shooting ourselves in the foot. It’s one of the reasons we are where we are.”
Kronwall continued while speaking with the Free Press’s Helene St. James:
“We’re shooting ourselves in the foot,” Niklas Kronwall said after a two-point night. “It’s been said before. It’s one of the reasons why we are where we are at. First period I thought we started off pretty good, came out with a lot of energy. Made some mistakes in our own zone that cost us.
“Then in the second, for whatever reason, we didn’t want the puck. We made it way too hard on ourselves. Kept turning the puck over. They’re a good team. You give them space and you give them the puck back all the time, they are going to make you pay. It’s tough when you dig yourself a hole like that.”“They’re good players when they get their chances,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “Very strong on the puck, they’ve got a big reach. They’re good when they get the puck into our end. I thought we handled it pretty good for two periods but in the second we were shooting ourselves in the foot again and turning pucks over and letting them come back in the game. We’ve seen that before. We can say that we were close and we battled hard in the third, but there’s no reason for us to be in that situation.”Kronwall said the Wings, “have to look ourselves in the mirror and say what could we have done differently. In the first period, we were right there. And we can keep up with the best of them when we play like we should. But a few too many mistakes against a high-powered offense like this, it’s tough.”The Wings don’t have the talent to overcome mistakes; their 2.58 goals-per-game average ranks in the bottom-five in the league.“In the first in particular we were playing really good, we scored the first goal, and then we kind of gave away two goals,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “We have to make teams earn it more than we did on those two goals. You’re going to have some push back-and-forth especially against really good teams and we’re in a stretch of playing some really good teams. What you can’t do when the push comes is give up goals like that.”
Cue Backhanded Compliment time, via coach Blashill, via DetroitRedWings.com’s Dana Wakiji:
Anthony Mantha/Trevor Daley: Mantha had not scored in the five games since he hit the 20-goal mark on Feb. 18 at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs. But with Nyquist’s perfect pass in the second period, Mantha easily beat Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck. That extends Mantha’s career-high to 21 goals. Mantha had another great chance with a little more than four minutes left in regulation but Hellebuyck made the save. Daley scored from the slot at 5:29 of the third period, cutting the Jets’ lead to 4-3. Kronwall and Tyler Bertuzzi assisted and Bertuzzi provided a net-front presence. It is Daley’s eighth goal of the season and the fourth time in his career he has scored eight or more goals. His career best is 16 goals in 2014-15 for the Dallas Stars.
Quotable: “I think Anthony’s been better than that, to be honest with you. I thought he was good tonight, but he went through a stretch for about two weeks where he was great, really moving his feet, really bending his knees, he’s gone away from it there the last couple of games, got to get back to making sure, when Anthony bends his knees and skates – I know it sounds simplistic, but that’s the reality – then he’s a really good player, so he’s got to get back to making sure he’s doing that consistently.” – Blashill
Highlights: NHL.com posted a 4:23 highlight clip…
Fox Sports Detroit posted Trevor Thompson’s post-game interview with coach Jeff Blashill…
Photos: The Free Press posted a 17-image gallery;
The Detroit News posted a 10-image gallery;
ESPN posted a 17-image gallery;
Here’s the Game Summary…
And the Event Summary:
The final shot attempts were 80-53 Winnipeg on the Jets’ 42-33 shot advantage. That’s staggering.
Red Wings notebooks and also of Red Wings-related note: Hockeybuzz’s Bob Duff penned a notebook article about Andreas Athanasiou’s up-tick in goals and points:
As Athanasiou and the Wings take the ice Friday in Winnipeg to face the Jets, in 52 games he has already equaled his 2016-17 output of 29 points in 64 games. He’s picked up the pace of late, with goals in the past two games and 3-2-5 totals and a plus-four rating over the past five games.
“I think Andreas has improved his game from a year ago in a consistency perspective of winning puck battles and winning puck races and those types of things,” Blashill said. “Certainly that’s where with a guy like Andreas or any of our young players, that’s where our growth will come from. Making sure it’s an every shift, every game thing.”
Back in the fall, when the NHL season got underway, Athanasiou wasn’t part of the Detroit Red Wings. A contract dispute kept him at home.
He eventually signed, and after missing the first 10 games of the season, got into action and quickly found his legs, scoring four goals in his first 11 games. But then he went goalless for 15 games. He also endured a 13-goal drought without lighting a red lamp from Jan. 20 to Feb. 18.
The learning process continues for Athanasiou, who possesses world-class speed but is still discovering ways to make an impact with his burst when he’s not in possession of the puck. Overall, the numbers indicate that he is steadily starting to figure it out.
“I think I’m just playing my game and I think getting a little bit more opportunity to produce a little more,” Athanasiou said. “I think it just comes with that.”
According to the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan, Darren Helm still has home-ice advantage in Winnipeg:
Darren Helm was born and grew up in Winnipeg, and this trip was hardly his first coming through Manitoba, but it’s still special coming home and playing in the NHL in front of family friends.
“I enjoy it, I still do,” Helm said. “Just seeing some friends that I don’t get to normally see a lot. My parents are coming down to see the game tonight, my brother and his wife and their son, they’re all coming to the game. Just all the people I don’t generally get to see a whole lot, and I enjoy seeing. It’s really special in that sense.”
Helm estimates that if all his cousins ever came to one single game, he’d have to leave around 20 tickets. But Helm estimates he left nine tickets for Friday’s game.
“About the normal number,” Helm said. “Some people have left town. But it’s still fun to play here.”
In the FYI department, from the Grand Rapids Press’s Brandon Champion:
An all-time favorite Red Wing is coming to Mitten Brewing Company. Darren McCarty, who for years served as the enforcer for winning Red Wings teams in the late-90s and early-2000s, will be at the brewery on Grand Rapids’ westside from 1-3 p.m. on Sunday, March 18.
McCarty will be on hand for a meet and greet. Guests who purchase this shirt will receive a free autograph.
The shirt, which reads “Sweet Revenge” depicts McCarty pummeling Colorado Avalanche player Claude Lemieux as payback hit from behind he put on Red Wings center Kris Draper in the previous game.
Guests can also bring their own bring in your own memorabilia and get it autographed for $10.