The Free Press’s Helene St. James posted a morning column today discussing the Red Wings’ need to focus on better defensive hockey after last night’s 5-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes:
The Wings have an evening game Saturday against the New Jersey Devils as Little Caesars Arena, which opened in October 2017, hosts its first Wings/Pistons same-day doubleheader. The Wings are 14-13-3 overall and 10-3-2 at home, leaving a 4-10-1 road record to show how they have struggled on the road.
“We have to figure it out,” captain Dylan Larkin said after Thursday’s 5-3 loss at Carolina. “We’re looking for answers. We need a spark. We need to get in a groove. But it’s just been really difficult.”
The Wings have taken comfort in home games, where they feed off the fans’ energy. But there’s another road game before Christmas, and two on the other side of the holiday, and the Wings are tired of being cast as grinches when they aren’t at LCA.
“We haven’t won enough on the road,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “We have to find ways to make sure you’re not giving up four on the road. You can’t give up that many goals and expect to win, because it’s really, really hard. We lost the special teams battle. Ultimately we just have to keep grinding and finding ways to dig in and make sure that the game is there to be had either way. We have to step up.”
One of the focal points has been figuring out a way to squeeze more momentum from goals. Larkin, Sam Gagner and Tyler Bertuzzi scored in Carolina, and Bertuzzi’s goal that made it 3-3 was part of a strong second period overall. Blashill said the Wings “need to score on some of the chances we had, making sure that next shift is really good.
“It’s just kind of that combination, though — what takes away momentum more than anything else is goals against. So you just can’t give up that many goals and expect to win consistently on the road. We have to do a better job of that, because they’re not all going to go in, and ultimately when you score three, three should be enough to win.”