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Slow Start Sinks Red Wings: Five Takeaways From Loss To Stars

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Jeff Blashill, Detroit Red Wings coach
Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill continues to express displeasure with his team's defensive play.

The Detroit Red Wings flipped the script from Monday’s 5-3 loss to the Columbus. However, during a 5-2 loss to the Dallas Stars, the outcome was hauntingly familiar.

There was another familiar trait that could prove haunting – Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin left the game after two periods. Last season, Larkin’s season ended when he suffered a neck injury in a game against Dallas. Tuesday, he was pulled from the game, with the team revealing afterward that Larkin had entered NHL COVID protocol.

Four other takeaways from Detroit’s fifth loss in six road games.

Watching The Winged Wheels Come Off

Monday in Columbus, the Red Wings began like gangbusters, grabbing a 2-0 lead over the Blue Jackets. Then about midway through the second period, they stopped playing. That set the wheels in motion for a Columbus comeback.

Tuesday, it was the Wings who stood around while Dallas was storming to a 3-0 advantage.

“Tonight they played harder than we did,” Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser admitted. “They came out faster and more ready to go than we did.”

Timely Timeout By Red Wings coach Blashill

Opting to quell momentum after the third Dallas goal, Detroit coach Jeff Blashill decided that calling his timeout was prudent. It seemed to have the desired effect, at least brieflly. Filip Zadina and Larkin scored and the Red Wings went to the dressing room after 40 minutes down 3-2.

He just told us we had half a game still and we kind of got going after that,” DeKeyser said. “We scored two goals to give us a chance in the third but we just couldn’t catch up.”

His goal was Larkin’s team-leading eighth of the season.

Detroit’s Defensive Shortcomings Continuing

Tuesday’s loss marked the sixth time in 18 games this season that the Red Wings surrendered at least five goals.

“We got to get better defensively,” Blashill said. “That’s just the reality of it. We’re a pretty good team when we have the puck, we’re a pretty good team when we’re hounding. We’re a pretty good team when we’re playing offense. We’re not a good enough team defensively right now.

“Certainly, our D-zone coverage isn’t close to good enough, so that’s one area for sure that has to get way better. Our slot coverage has been terrible, so that has to get way better. I think we’ve given up some easy chances out of our O-zone play back into our own end off of rushes.”

Stars Keeping It Simple

In the offensive zone, Blashill is known to lament his team’s unwillingness to shoot the puck, as well as their inability to create chaos at the net front.

The Stars were delivering a blueprint on how that’s done in Tuesday’s win. The first two Dallas goals were stoppable shots from the point that found their way into the Detroit net due to the traffic Dallas put at the net front.

They’re a big, physical team,” DeKeyser said. “They try to win net-front battles at both ends. They play a simple game – get pucks to the net and try to out work you in front of the net.”

Red Wings Road Woes

The Red Wings opened the season by winning two of their first three road games. Since then, they’ve gone 1-5 in games played away from Little Caesars Arena.

“When you give up four goals plus the empty-netter it’s hard to win that way,” Blashill said. “If we want to win on the road, if we want to win consistently, if we want to win when maybe we don’t score enough goals, we got to get better defensively.”

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