The Red Wings lost a 3-0 decision to the Calgary Flames on Thursday night, and the 2-1-and-1 Red Wings will face extraordinarily difficult challenges this weekend in heading northeast to battle the 0-and-5 Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, and then turning around to tangle with the 0-4-and-1 Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday.
MLive’s Ansar Khan posted an article this morning which discusses the fact that the Wings fell into the Flames’ trap last night, letting an emotional let-down from their first three games affect their play against a trap-happy, slow-the-game-down defensive team…
“The first three games were emotional, and we practiced hard (Wednesday), and we didn’t have our legs today,” Dylan Larkin said. “We didn’t have that emotion that we played with. You’re not going to have it every night in the National Hockey League. It’s 82 games. It’s hard. But when we don’t have our legs, our emotion, we got to find a way to simplify and play a better hockey game.”
The Red Wings showed much energy the first five minutes, but some of it was sapped after the Flames jumped ahead 2-0 in the first period on goals by Elias Lindholm (10:06) and Andrew Mangiapane (14:33) against Alex Nedeljkovic.
It was the first time this season the Red Wings trailed in a game and despite outshooting the Flames 33-29 and getting some open looks in the slot against Jacob Markstrom, Detroit didn’t have enough push to come back.
“In the third, they did an excellent job,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “They just put it in, made us go 200 feet. We stayed on the outside. I didn’t think we shot enough pucks. We didn’t have the same level of energy that we’ve had, especially in the third period.”
Khan continues, and the Free Press’s Helene St. James looks ahead to the Wings’ difficult weekend schedule, which is of course made more difficult by Tyler Bertuzzi’s impending absence from the lineup:
Call it desperation, as their captain did, or urgency, as the coach prefers: The Detroit Red Wings need to pack it when they go to Canada for the first time in nearly 20 months.
They face a winless team Saturday in the Canadiens, and travel to Montreal smarting after flunking their assignment against a winless team, lacking emotion and execution in a 3-0 loss to the Calgary Flames.
“They hadn’t won yet,” Dylan Larkin said. “They were desperate. They were way more desperate than we were. Montreal is the same way. Chicago is the same way. We’ve got these two games this weekend coming up. We can’t look past Montreal, but we have to be ready to go.”
The Wings won’t have their top scorer because Tyler Bertuzzi, who refuses to get the COVID-19 vaccine, cannot travel to Canada under current border regulations. The plan is for him to take a car service and join his team Sunday for the game against the Blackhawks.
Saturday marks the first time the Wings will have played in Canada since Feb. 29, 2020, because the pandemic forced a reorganization that allowed for play only within divisions, with all Canadian teams in their own division.
Thursday’s loss ended a four-game homestand at 2-1-1. The Canadiens also lost Thursday, 4-1, to the Carolina Hurricanes to drop to 0-5-0.
“It’s our first road game,” Larkin said. “They’re going to be fighting and scratching and clawing for everything they get. We have to go in there with the same attitude and be more desperate, or match their desperation.”
St. James also continues;
In terms of the Wings’ opponents this weekend, the Canadiens’ media corps and fans are going absolutely apeshit after Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored a goal in Carolina’s 4-1 victory last night, and Sportsnet’s Eric Engels reports that, should the Canadiens not win on Saturday, the 0-and-5 Canadiens would become the first Stanley Cup finalist ever to go 0-and-6 to start the season, so the Wings have to develop some desperation away from their own media spotlight (minus an important cog in Bertuzzi);
Regarding Sunday’s foe, the 0-4-and-1 Blackhawks were booed off the ice after dropping a 4-1 decision to Vancouver on Thursday, and Chicago doesn’t play another game between today and Sunday, so they’ll be rested and ready to go against a Red Wings team that won’t arrive in Chicago until early Sunday morning (the Wings will also have to clear customs, which can yield further delays), and probably won’t hold a morning skate.
As for the extenuating circumstance that is Tyler Bertuzzi’s absence, there’s nothing the Wings can do other than make the best of a situation where actions have consequences, and Bertuzzi will also miss the Wings’ October 30th game in Toronto, so decisions have consequences, and you deal with them.