Kulfan’s notebook: Wings head home looking to improve on defense

The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan filed a Sunday-afternoon notebook in which he discusses the Red Wings’ need to bounce back from their rough 3-game winless streak with a strong pre-Christmas showing over the next 5 games:

“You look at our most recent struggles,” Larkin said. “We had a couple of practice days, came out and won five in a row. We need to get back to work at home and hopefully get some guys back and see what can happen.”

Coach Jeff Blashill said after Friday’s loss that forward Tyler Bertuzzi (out five games on COVID-19 protocol) would be ready to play against the Islanders. The status of Marc Staal (COVID protocol), who has missed three games, remains uncertain.

The Wings need improvement on the defensive end, where they have allowed 18 goals in the last three losses. Detroit has sunk to 27th in the NHL with a 3.43 goals-against average.

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

Ramping up defensively and managing the puck better are two areas Blashill targeted after the loss to the Avalanche. 

“I’ve talked about it a lot — when you’re on the road you have to be great defensively and you have to manage the puck great to win,” Blashill said. “I don’t think even at home we’ve been great defensively or managed the puck well enough.  Sometimes you have to keep getting slapped in the face to continue to realize it, especially the puck management part of it. You can get away with it at times at home because momentum is totally different. If we want to win more on the road and we want to win later in the season, and we want to win against great teams, we have to keep working to be better defensively. We have to keep working to manage the puck.”

Continued; the Wings play 3 games at home and 2 on the road before Christmas, and their schedule is relatively spread out over the next couple of weeks, so they should have ample practice time with which to help remedy their defensive issues.

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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.