Defenseman Ben Chiarot is maintaining optimism that a little bit of California sunshine might be just what the doctor ordered to clear away the gloom that’s clouding the season for the Detroit Red Wings.
“I think heading out on the road will be good for us, getting the team together,” Chiarot said. “We’ll look to build momentum out in California.”
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) December 31, 2023
The Mamas & The Papas were California Dreamin’, while the Beach Boys clutched tightly to a perennial California Feelin’. However, anticipating that there’s gold waiting for the Wings in the Golden State as they open a three-game set Tuesday against the San Jose Sharks just might be a reach.
It’s been quite some time since the three-game California gauntlet – San Jose, Anaheim and Los Angeles – has brought a wealth of success to Detroit.
The Red Wings haven’t come back from a California trip with a winning slate since the 2015-16 season (2-1). That was also the last season in which the club qualified for postseason play.
Over that time period, Detroit has managed to tread water on the road against the Sharks (3-3-2) and Ducks (2-2-4), but Los Angeles has proven to be a vast wasteland for the Red Wings. They are 1-6-1 in their last eight away games facing the Kings. Detroit’s last win in LA was a 4-0 shutout triumph on Jan. 5, 2017.
Last season, the Red Wings managed to go 1-1-1 on their California trip. They lost 4-3 at LA, and were beaten 3-2 in OT at Anaheim. A 7-4 win at San Jose gave them a split of the points. It was the first time since 2019 that Detroit had posted a win on the California trip.
Defensive Concerns Still There For Red Wings
Detroit was better without the puck in Sunday’s 5-3 home-ice loss to the Boston Bruins, but it would be a stretch to suggest that the Red Wings were sound defensively.
“Looking back on the game, we easily could have won that game,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde said. Instead, the Red Wings did just enough wrong to get themselves beat. With a 3-8-1 slate over the past 12 games, they sit three points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, with four teams – Tampa Bay, Washington, New Jersey and Pittsburgh – that Detroit must climb over to regain that postseason position.
The Chuckie connection. pic.twitter.com/skd1f8MMV4
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) January 1, 2024
“It’s just a little bit of attention to details,” Chiarot said. “Knowing that you got your guy in our zone, or that there’s five guys in front of you if you’re a defenseman. Whatever the case is, just knowing that you’re in a sound defensive position.
“Just a little more attention to detail I think would be helpful as far as being a stronger defensive team.”
The Red Wings recalled veteran forward Zach Aston-Reese from the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins to join them on this trip.