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Detroit Red Wings

Deja Vu: Poor Special Teams Doom Red Wings in Loss



Ben Chiarot, Red Wings
Poor special teams doom Detroit Red Wings in loss to Florida Panthers.

Detroit Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde says the frustration is high after Friday’s 3-2 loss to the Florida Panthers because “the people in the front office who work analytics are going to tell us we should have won this game.”

The reason why the Red Wings’ lost isn’t complicated: they gave up two power play goals on two chances and were 0-for-5 on the power play.

“If we get any execution on our special teams…I’m not going to go as far as to say it was an easy win,” Lalonde said. “But it was a winnable hockey game.”

This is not a new problem:  On Wednesday, the New Jersey Devils go 2-for-3 on the power play to start the ball rolling on a 5-1 win against Detroit. That’s four power play goals against in the two losses, while the Red Wings were 1-for-6 on the power play.

“It was almost uncanny how exact it was to our last game,” Lalonde said.

Lalonde had thoughts on what’s wrong with the power play. He did move players around to get a different look. “We are losing some battles,” Lalonde said. “Unfortunately, there are some 50-50 battles that are ending up as 200-foot clear.  When it’s not going in, just simply it.”

Red Wings’ Special Teams Struggling

The Red Wings poured 31 shots on Florida goalie Sergei Bobrovsky who now has a 23-6-1 career record vs. Detroit. Detroit’s Ville Husso stopped 17 of 20. He has given up 25 goals in the past six games.

“Five on five we’re a pretty good team right now,” Detroit defenseman Ben Chiarot said. “I’d say we carry the
play for the most part five on five. And then we give one up on the PK and we’re kind of on our heels most of the game after that. That’s kind of killing us right now.

The Red Wings’ penalty killing (75%) now ranks 22nd in the league. That’s alarming considering they are heading to Toronto for a game tomorrow against a Maple Leafs team that boasts one of the league’s top 10 power plays. It’s scoring at a 24.8% clip.

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Lalonde also thought Detroit’s five-on-five play was strong. “But unfortunately we don’t have a lot to show for it,” he said.

The Red Wings’ penalty killing woes seem like bad luck.

“From my experience, it’s frustrating because it keeps going in,” Lalonde said. “But it’s not a ton of chances against, so it’s not broken. You know when your penalty kill is getting seamed, it’s getting breakdowns, they’re getting ridiculous, egregious A-type slot chances. That’s not the case. Unfortunately, it’s going in.”