Khan’s notebook: Red Wings must renew commitment to playing defense

MLive’s Ansar Khan discusses the Red Wings’ rather mediocre defensive game both at and away from Little Caesars Arena during an off-day notebook, noting that the Avalanche were able to exploit the Red Wings with ease over the course of last night’s 7-3 loss:

Colorado (15-7-2) is by far the highest-scoring team in the league (4.38 goals per game) and has tallied seven goals in three consecutive games, which is unheard of in today’s NHL.

“You give them time, they roll around, they make plays. It’s hard,” Larkin said. “You got to find a way to grind out your shift and stay tight. We just got beat on our assignments, especially early. Absolutely it’s disappointing. It was a back-to-back, four points on the line and we didn’t come up with any. We had a good stretch and we’re a little banged up right now, but we got to find a way to get something.”

Blashill called this game a litmus test for his team defensively and said too many players had their ‘C’ game early when the Avalanche led 3-0 less than 11 minutes into the game. He praised their character in coming back to make it competitive for a bit.

“They certainly didn’t quit, had chances in the third to at least make it interesting,” Blashill said.

Team defense continues to be an issue. The Red Wings have allowed 18 goals in their past three games and rank 27th in goals-against average (3.43).

“We’re going to get back to work and get better, especially in our D-zone coverage,” Blashill said. “We can’t give up nearly the number of chances we gave up. But we did create lots of chances. Our guys stayed with it in a tough environment. I’m happy for that but we got to grow here. We got to get back, take a breath and be ready for a big game on Tuesday.”

The Red Wings (13-12-3) are 4-9-1 away from home.

Continued; between slot coverage when in a defensive shell (i.e. not collapsing in the slot) and just plain old asking the forwards to not cheat toward offense every chance they get, the Wings could use a couple of very simple fundamental changes to their defensive game to improve dramatically.

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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.