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The Breakdown: Lalonde Warns Red Wings Margin For Error is Very Thin



Dylan Larkin, Detroit Red Wings

DETROIT — Even with the Detroit Red Wings embracing an effective simpler defensive style, the difference between winning and losing will still come down to a bounce, a bit of a luck or a single shot that finds the back of the net.

“Our margin of error is still very thin,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde said after the Red Wings lost a 3-2 shootout decision to the Montreal Canadiens.

Twice, the Red Wings erased a one-goal deficit to earn a point in a fourth consecutive game. They are 3-0-1 in their last four and 7-3-3 on the season.

“They are still really tight games,” Lalonde said. “It’s going to look like tonight. It’s still about keeping it out of our net. We did that. We gave them two over 60 minutes.They are not a fun team to be trailing.”

In the NHL, there are good loser points and bad ones. This was a good one for the Red Wings because they continued to play the style that will help them stay competitive. They were poised, on task and committed to playing the defensive style even when they fell behind.

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Detroit captain Dylan Larkin said Lalonde told the players that if they played that same style 10 times against Montreal they would have won eight of those games.

After falling behind 2-1 late in the second, Lucas Raymond scored his fifth goal in six games to tie the score 2-2 at 10:37 of the second period.

Red Wings Power Play Struggles

What hurt them Tuesday was an 0-for-7 performance on the power play. The Red Wings had a manpower advantage for 11:22 and couldn’t score. Larkin didn’t score on a first period penalty shot. Detroit’s final shot total was a season-high 43, but the Red Wings couldn’t get a third goal. Ville Husso continues to be sharp in net.

“We couldn’t score on the power play in the second,” Lalonde said. “Our skill was tired. It didn’t look like they had much jump. You saw a little lack of execution. They started managing their game early in the third and (Montreal goalie Jake) Allen was remarkable. It just didn’t feel like we were gonna get that tying goal.

In overtime, Larkin rattled the crossbar with a shot. It was that kind of night. But the Red Wings didn’t lose any confidence during this loss.

“With that many new guys, new systems, it finally feels like we’re into the season, we’re in a
rhythm,” Larkin said. “That’s important, but the biggest thing for our group is when we compete and block shots. We play together, we get results and we’re right there in games. We go down tonight, it didn’t seem like we were out of the game, and the third period was awesome. Just rolled lines.”

The Red Wings lost 2-1 in the shootout.

Facts and Observations

    1. Austin Czarnik scored his first goal as a Red Wing at 16:29 of the second period to tie the game 1-1. Dominik Kubalik set up the goal with a pass to the slot
    2. Larkin’s penalty shot attempt was the first by a Red Wing since Andreas Athansiou scored against Anders Nilsson on Feb. 14, 2019 vs. Ottawa
    3. Detroit forward Matt Luff suffered a significant upper body injury when he was boarded by No. 1 NHL draft pick Juraj Slafkovsky. He received a major penalty and game misconduct. Luff had made a favorable impression on coaches since being called up from Grand Rapids
    4. Kubalik’s assist was his 10th. He has 16 points. He leads the Red Wings in both categories
    5. David Perron scored in the shootout. He is 25-for-69 (36.2%) in shootout attempts during his NHL career