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Slow Starts Will Soon Stall Progress of Red Wings

Detroit was 2-32-3 when trailing after two period last season



Dylan Larkin, Red Wings
The Red Wings won as many games last week when trailing after two periods as they did during the entire 2022-23 season.

There was once a coach of the Detroit Red Wings – a fellow who liked to look at the cellphones of his players – who was once suggesting to all within earshot that catch-up hockey was losing hockey.

For the most part this season, the Red Wings are defying that directive. Twice last week, the team was able to overcome third-period deficits and fashion victories in the process.

“To trail that team in the third and find a way to win in regulation, it was good,” Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said. “Just solid throughout.”

Rallies Not Recipe For Success

In 12 games this season, Detroit has fallen behind on the scoreboard in 10 of them. The Red Wings managed to rally to win in five of these games – against Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and Boston at home and on the road facing the New York Islanders and Ottawa.

Do the math and that also means, they’ve gone on to lose five games when falling behind on the scoreboard. Thus far, it’s a 50-50 split. However, tradition shows that playing from behind is not a strategy for fashioning a pattern of long-term success.

As happy as he is to get a pair of wins this week when trailing on the scoreboard in the third period, Lalonde also recognizes to continue to battle from behind will ultimately be a battle they’ll be losing more often than not.

“Very good sign but not a recipe for success,” Lalonde said of their comeback victories. “But I will say both games were very similar in that we played a very good 60 minutes but found ourselves down in the third. We have to start flipping some of these decent starts and performances to leads. We’re not good enough to be chasing games all the time.”

Red Wings Already Tie Last Season’s Mark

All you have to do is go back to last season’s stats to see how this game plan is not a blueprint for success. Coming back from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Islanders 4-3 in overtime on Monday, and then rallying from 3-2 down in the final 20 minutes to top the Bruins 5-4, Detroit won twice when trailing after two periods.

Last season, the Red Wings were 2-32-3 in games they entered the final frame of regulation time behind on the scoreboard.

“It’s good to know that we can do it,” Red Wings forward J.T. Compher said of the comebacks. “Obviously, we’d like to have a better start. I think that’s been an area that we want to work on so we’re not always playing from behind.”

Should they continue to do, the Red Wings will eventually find themselves behind the eight ball.