Red Wings-Blue Jackets wrap-up: when ‘not good enough’ is ‘a lot better than it used to be’

The Detroit Red Wings lost a 5-3 decision to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday, and they head to Dallas to battle the Stars on Tuesday night (8:30 PM EST on ESPN+/hulu/97.1 FM), and here’s hoping that the Red Wings take out their frustrations on Dallas, because damn, was Monday’s loss frustrating.

Detroit blew 2-0 and 3-2 leads over the course of this game, and between a bad 2nd period and struggles to hang on in the 3rd, the Wings were growling after Monday’s result…as were the fans.

Which is a good thing. Last year, the Red Wings blowing a 2-goal lead, rallying to take a 3rd-period lead and then losing that lead was disturbingly and deflatingly routine. This season, both the players, the coaching staff and the fans feel that the kind of loss that the Red Wings experienced Monday is below expectations, if not completely unacceptable, and that’s refreshing (albeit in a weird way).

As you might imagine from our survey of the Red Wings and Blue Jackets’ recaps, Columbus was delighted with its 2nd and 3rd-period performances, as Zach Werenski told the Columbus Dispatch’s Bailey Johnson:

“I think we’ve come back quite a few times this year already in the third period,” Werenski said. “For us, it’s just that belief in our room. If you play the right way, you’re gonna find ways to win. That’s what we’ve been doing.

“When they took the lead there, I don’t think anyone panicked. Just kept playing our game. Jake makes a good play and Chinakhov buries it to tie it, and we find a way to get two points in regulation.”

The win also meant the Jackets got two points out of a stretch of three games in four nights and stopped a two-game losing streak. Larsen, who thought his team deserved at least one point in Friday’s loss to Washington couldn’t hide his relief at getting at least one win out of the three games.

“About a period and a half out of these three games, that’s about all I didn’t like from us,” [coach Brad] Larsen said. “I thought we looked tired (against the Rangers). We were chasing the game. But this game, we came to play. We showed a lot of character tonight coming through here and coming from behind. It would’ve been real hard to get through that third game and not get anything.”

Werenski reiterated his talking points while speaking with the Associated Press…

”For us, it’s belief in the room that we are going to find ways to win,” Werenski said. ”That’s what we’ve been doing. When they took the lead, nobody panicked. If we stick to our game plan we are going to win.”

Larkin put Detroit on the board first, catching Merzlikins out of position and burying a feed from Lucas Raymond on the stick side at 14:45 of the first. It was his seventh of the season and fourth in as many games.

Rasmussen made it 2-0 early in the second period with his first goal since April 15 off a feed along the left board from Vladislav Namestnikov that slid past a seemingly surprised Merzlikins.

But the Blue Jackets, who came from behind in their last three wins, did it again. Jenner made it 2-1 when he crashed the crease and tapped in the puck at 13:07 of the second period for his fifth point in the past six games.

Boqvist tied it less than two minutes later, going top shelf over Greiss’ right shoulder with the rebound of a shot by Chinakhov, his first goal since coming to the Blue Jackets from Chicago in an offseason trade. Boqvist played for the first time since suffering a lower-body injury on Oct. 23.

”In the second period, we were coming,” Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said. ”We were talking on the bench that there was no point getting frustrated. Sometimes it feels like you are going to have to do something different. We threw a lot of pucks and had a lot of real good looks. We got it tied. We’ve had to come from behind a few times. The guys stuck to the game plan. They played a heck of a game.”

The Red Wings felt slightly differently after blowing that 3-2 lead in final minutes of the 3rd period, as’s Craig Merz noted:

Raymond and Dylan Larkin each had a goal and an assist, and Thomas Greiss made 33 saves for Detroit (8-7-2), which had won four of five.

“We were poised, we made plays, but just when we got the lead we didn’t keep our foot on the gas and keep playing and keep making it hard on them,” Larkin said. “Teams are too good, the League is too tight every night to play half the game. We’ve got to play a full 60 minutes.”

Larkin gave Detroit a 1-0 lead at 14:45 of the first period with his seventh goal of the season. Michael Rasmussen scored his first goal in 28 games at 4:23 of the second period to make it 2-0. He was along the left wall when Vladislav Namestnikov dropped a pass for a quick shot from 42 feet.

“I thought our first [period] was good and then after that I didn’t think we played good enough hockey,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “I thought we’re fortunate to have the lead, to be honest, and we made a couple of mistakes, and the next thing you know it slips away from you. We’ve talked about learning lessons while we’re winning. But sometimes you’ve got to get slapped in the face, and we got slapped in the face tonight.”

Blashill continued while speaking with the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan:

“Our first (period) was good, then after that, I didn’t think we played good enough hockey,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “We were fortunate to have the lead. Now we had it, but we made a couple of mistakes and next thing you know, it slips away from you. But we have to play better hockey than we’ve been playing.”

Blashill didn’t like in Monday’s game — as he hasn’t for much of this season — the number of scoring chances the Wings are allowing.

“We got away with it a little bit and won a few games in the last little bit, but haven’t played good enough and we’re giving up too many chances,” Blashill said. “We have to be a better team defensively if we want to have success.”

Tyler Bertuzzi found Raymond alone near the left hashmarks, and Raymond snapped a one-timer past goaltender Elvis Merzlikins, giving the Wings a 3-2 lead.

But Columbus, as resilient as usual, stormed right back. Chinakhov scored his first NHL goal, getting an outlet pass from Jakub Voracek and scoring a breakaway goal on Greiss at 15:42. From there, the Wings disintegrated, primarily defensively.

“When we got the lead, we didn’t keep our foot on the gas and keep playing and keep making it hard on them,” forward Dylan Larkin said. “Teams are too good to play half a game. You have to play a full 60 minutes.”

Larkin was particularly aggravated by the fact that the Wings didn’t gain and keep the lead:

“We gave up points,” Larkin said. “For us to be a good team we have to learn to put this game away. We got another chance, up 3-2, and we don’t come away with any point and it’s frustrating right now. We just didn’t play. We didn’t put them away and continue to play our game. We made it far too easy for them.”

His coach agreed:

“You get the lead late you have to buckle down and at the very least, make them earn it,” Blashill said. “In those last two goals they didn’t have to really earn it, we kind of gave it away. We have to be way better than that. You get the lead at under the six minute mark, no way should you come away out of it without at least a point and most nights two (points). We talk about learning lessons while we’re winning, but sometimes you have to get slapped in the face and we got slapped in the face tonight.”

Blashill didn’t like the Wings’ performance in general, as he told Detroit Hockey Now’s Kevin Allen…

“We’ve got to play better hockey than we’ve been playing,” Blashill said.  “We’ve got away with it a little bit. We’ve won a few games in the last little bit when we weren’t quite playing quite good enough. We are giving up too many chances. We have to be a better team defensively if we want to have success.”

The Red Wings gave up 38 shots on goal. In the second period, the Red Wings gave up 15 scoring chances to the Blue Jackets.

“Our first (period) was good and after that I didn’t think we played good enough hockey,” Blashill said. “I thought we were fortunate to have the lead, to be honest.”

Or, as Larkin told’s Jonathan Mills

“For us to become a good team, we have to learn to put this game away,” Larkin said.

That is the goal. Yes, this year.


Highlights: Sportsnet posted an 8:14 highlight clip: also posted a 9:02 highlight clip:

The Blue Jackets produce their own highlight clip as well:

Post-game: The Blue Jackets posted post-game comments from Boone Jenner…

Zach Werenski…

Adam Boqvist…

And coach Brad Larsen:

Jody Shelley and Bob McElligott discussed the game as well:

It’s frustrating to see this guy on the other side of the rink, too:

“We were creating most of the chances out there. Felt like we never quit and we just kept coming.”#CBJ— Bally Sports Columbus (@BallySportsCBUS) November 16, 2021

Bally Sports Detroit posted clips of Dylan Larkin speaking with the media and coach Jeff Blashill speaking with Trevor Thompson:

The Free Press’s Helene St. James posted a 2:38 clip of Larkin’s post-game presser:

She also posted a 2:50 clip of coach Blashill’s comments:

The Red Wings posted a 3:17 clip of both Larkin and Blashill’s comments:

Photos: The Free Press posted an 11-image gallery;

The Detroit News embedded a 12-image gallery in Ted Kulfan’s recap;

The Columbus Dispatch posted a 45-image gallery; posted a 56-image gallery.

Statistics: Here are the Game Summary and Event Summary:

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.