Detroit Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde has said more than once this season that his team’s “margin of error is extremely thin.”
His team isn’t strong enough to turn in an average performance and expect to win. The Red Wings have to be at their best to be competitive. On Saturday, they played a good first period against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Coach Sheldon Keefe’s team only managed two shots on goal in the first period. Detroit led 1-0 after 20 minutes.
But that wasn’t enough. Not even close. Mitch Marner scored a power play goal 24 seconds into the second period and the Maple Leafs sailed to a 4-1 triumph against the Red Wings. Toronto is 16-0-1 when it scores four goals.
#Leafs continuing to be comatose, allowing the opposition to score the opening goal for the third game in a row. 1-0 DET on Jake Walman's breakaway goal.
— Michael Augello (@MikeInBuffalo) January 8, 2023
“We are unable to produce offense,” Lalonde told Bally Sports. “The good thing is we are getting chances. We are getting looks. I thought our compete for the most part was pretty good tonight, especially in the back-to-back (situation).”
Out of Gas
On the negative side of the ledger, they only managed five shots on goal in the third period when they could have been pressing. The Maple Leafs didn’t get their third goal until 6:19 of the third and the fourth was an empty-netter by John Tavares at 18:21 of the third. He scored twice in the game.
Chasing the game in the second and third period seemed to wear down the Red Wings.
“We probably ran out little bit of gas for the push in the third,” Lalonde said.
Also, the Red Wings lost the special team battle again. They were 0-for-4 on the power play, making them 0-for-9 over the past two games. Red Wings improved a bit on their penalty killing, but Toronto managed to score once in five opportunities.
Over the past three games, the Red Wings have given up five power play goals and scored one
“Unfortunately, three games in a row have been very similar,” Lalonde said.
They have only scored four goals in three consecutive losses. “We are unable to generate enough finish on our chances,” Lalonde said.
The bottom line? “Our inability to score that second goal with some great chances,” Lalonde said.