With the Detroit Red Wings scheduled to battle the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first game of a 4-games-in-6-nights road trip this week, we’ll take a look at a pair of stories from opposite ends of the team spectrum this morning.
The Columbus Dispatch’s Brian Hedger and Bailey Johnson spoke with several members of the Blue Jackets about Columbus’ desire to snap a 2-game losing streak after dropping a 5-2 decision to the New York Rangers on Saturday:
Moving onto the next game, quickly, is a key lesson for NHL players.
It’s especially pertinent for goalies, whose position assigns them a good deal of credit for wins and blame for losses. Combine that with a busy 82-game schedule and there’s little time to savor or lament results.
“This is the thing, what I’ve learned in this league, is that here you can’t even enjoy the wins and you can’t even (endure) the sadness,” said Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins, who allowed five goals Saturday in a 5-3 loss to the New York Rangers at Nationwide Arena. “You can’t have sadness. In a couple hours, you already have the next game. You have to focus on the new game.”
That’s Monday for the Blue Jackets (7-5-0), who will host the Detroit Red Wings in the finale of a four-game homestand. They’re 1-2-0 in the first three games after taking back-to-back losses over the weekend to the Washington Capitals and Rangers.
“Obviously, we’ve got to learn from it, watch some video on things we can clean up,” defenseman Zach Werenski said. “All the good things we’ve done, we’ve got to keep doing that. There’s no need to panic.”
The Free Press’s Helene St. James offers the Red Wings’ perspective as Detroit will wrap up a nasty stretch of 11 games played over the course of 17 nights this week, with St. James noting that the Red Wings are back on track after having a team meeting in Buffalo on November 6th:
“We sat in Buffalo and we talked on the ice in practice,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “We talked about the week prior — I mean literally, if you had rewound the clock a week from then, we had a ton of confidence and all of a sudden we had not much confidence.”
The restoration began when Tyler Bertuzzi scored twice in the third period Nov. 6 against the Sabres, and Moritz Seider scored in overtime. The Wings came home and beat Vegas and Edmonton, lost to Washington, and won in overtime Saturday against Montreal.
“That third period in Buffalo was huge, how good Tyler played there,” Blashill said. “And we’ve picked up steam from there. I think part of it is, as I’ve said before, we have more guys with ability to make some plays to make a difference in the game, and that’s important. There are a lot of things we need to get better at and we’re going to keep working, but we don’t get enough practice time right now just because we’re trying to conserve energy because of how much we’re playing, but we’ll do our best to get better through film.”
The Wings (8-6-2) play at Dallas on Tuesday, at Vegas on Thursday, and at Arizona on Saturday. That wraps up a stretch of 14 games in 25 days, including three sets of back-to-backs. They’re 3-4 on the road, but two of those losses were in Canada, where Bertuzzi was not available because of his unvaccinated status.
Continued (paywall); however you slice up the schedule, the Red Wings’ first three weeks of November have been and will be tremendously difficult, so the Wings are going to be looking forward to next week, when they only play the Friday before and Saturday after American Thanksgiving.