The script wasn’t the same for the Detroit Red Wings. However, the denouement and the outcome were looking very familiar. A 4-1 loss to the Nashville Predators was Detroit’s 13th loss over the club’s past 16 road games.
Though the Red Wings gave a much better accounting of themselves than in a 5-2 home-ice loss to the Preds earlier this season, the end result remained the same.
“I thought we fought hard, played physical, matched their intensity and physicality,” Detroit defenseman Marc Staal said. “Just execution on some chances we had, and some breakdowns in our end and that’s the difference in the game.”
The Red Wings are 3-10-3 over their past 16 road contests. They are 1-10-3 in games not involving the Buffalo Sabres.
Red Wings Power Outage
Scoring goals with the man advantage in five of the previous six games, it was appearing that Detroit was pulling out of its dismal power-play slump. Saturday, those extra-man maladies returned for the Red Wings.
They were awarded three power plays in the game’s first 22 minutes. That was including a double high-sticking minor to Nashville’s Matt Duchene.
Detroit went 0-for-3 on these chances and 0-for-5 for the night with the manpower advantage. Meanwhile, when the Predators were awarded their first power play in the second period, they scored the game’s opening goal. Just 1:35 later, Duchene made it 2-0.
“Ultimately, they got one (power-play goal) and we got none,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “When you go on the road on the back half of back to backs against a good team, you would like to win the specialty teams battle.”
Bert And Erne
Detroit’s second penalty kill of the night proved more rewarding. Adam Erne was in the sin bin for hooking Nashville’s Roman Josi.
As he came out of the penalty box following the successful kill, Tyler Bertuzzi hit Erne with an outlet pass. He got loose on a breakaway and beat Juuse Saros to narrow Detroit’s disadvantage to 2-1 with 1:09 left in the second period.
— Woodward Sports Network (@woodwardsports) January 23, 2022
It was Erne’s first goal in 21 games.
“I think Earns the last couple of games has played much better,” Blashill said. “I thought he went into a little bit of a funk, which happens.”
Third Line Strong For Red Wings
Blashill has been offering much praise of late for the club’s third line of Michael Rasmussen between Erne and Filip Zadina. Saturday, a nght when the Wings didn’t get much from their top six forwards, the unit played a strong game, creating much offensize zone time.
“I think (Erne) and Ras have pretty good chemistry,” Blashill said. “Obviously when they’ve been with Vladdy (Namestnikov) they’ve been real good at times.
“I thought Zadina played good tonight. I thought overall it was a good line and I’m glad that Earns scored and hopefully we can get that line going at a higher level.”
No Fighting Chance
Down a goal entering the third period, the Wings played most of the first seven minutes of the frame without Bertuzzi. Their leading goal scorer with 19, Bertuzzi was assessed a minor and major following a fight with Nashville’s Matt Benning at the 19:46 mark of the second period.
— Bally Sports Detroit (@BallySportsDET) January 23, 2022
“On a back to back it’s not easy,” Blashill said. “All of a sudden you’re overplaying guys at that point.
“Listen, it happens. He’s a tough kid and it’s the way it goes. You gotta find ways to absorb it, though.”
Defenseman Gustav Lindstrom was lost during the game to an undisclosed injury.
“He left the game,” Blashill said. “I honestly don’t have much more of an update than that. I just know he couldn’t finish.”
Lindstrom has already missed nine games this season due to injury.