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Reaction to Loss Revealing About Red Wings Progress

Wins more important than moral victories



Alex Lyon, Red Wings
Red Wings goalie Alex Lyon wasn't interested in talking about how well the team played in Thursday's loss to Edmonton.

The story of Thursday’s Detroit Red Wings homecoming wasn’t so much that they lost to the Edmonton Oilers. It was more revealing in how they reacted to that loss. In fact, it said a lot about where this team believes they are at this stage in the season.

There was a time not so long ago when losing 3-2 in overtime to the NHL’s hottest team would’ve been worn as a badge of honor by a Red Wings club.

This team isn’t interested at all in talking about moral victories.

“You play to win the game,” Detroit goaltender Alex Lyon said. “That’s the bottom line. At the end of the day you play to win the game. This league is about wins and losses.

“It would’ve been really nice to get that extra point.”

The Oilers came in with eight successive victories. Detroit was returning to home ice riding a four-game win streak following a 3-0 California trip.

It figured to be a heckuva game, and it was.

“That’s a good team,” Lyon said. “It’s always interesting playing teams like that, because you can kind of see where the bar is at, just kind of see where you’re feeling.

“Obviously we came in knowing it was gonna be a good test. It feels bad right now but a huge point, so you gotta take the positives from it.”

Red Wings Get Goals From Unusual Sources

There were factors in play that certainly could’ve made it Detroit’s night. Defenseman Olli Maatta scored for the first time since Dec. 20. Andrew Copp’s goal was his first since Nov. 7. Lyon made a season-high 44 saves.

“They probably had the majority of the play but we had our looks, too,” Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said. “We literally hit five irons. Those don’t count as shots but those are Grade A’s.”

If any of the Red Wings elite offensive players could’ve stepped up, two points might’ve been theirs. But that wasn’t to be the case. Among the club’s top eight scorers, only Lucas Raymond, with an assist, registered on the scoresheet. Detroit’s two leading scorers, Dylan Larkin and Alex DeBrincat, were each held to one shot.

Raymond was minus-two on the night, though. It was his turnover that led to the overtime winner by Edmonton defenseman Darnell Nurse.

The Oilers, meanwhile, got a goal and seven shots out of Connor McDavid.

“A lot of your focus can end up on defending,” Copp said of the challenge of facing the high-octane Oilers. “They sustain possession pretty well.

“Once you do get the puck out, you’re either dumping and changing, and maybe your’re not on your toes on the forecheck.”

Detroit Must Get Back On Winning Track

Speaking of being on their toes, Copp felt that would prove to be the answer to what the Red Wings ultimately get out of this game.

“A game like this, you gotta take the positives,” Copp said. “But at the same time, it can kind of go either way. It’s a point and then if we get the next one, and the next one and then it’s we’ve had just one overtime loss in our last eight.

“But at the same time it can also start a spiral. We gotta get back to work tomorrow, have a good practice and bring our best against LA on Saturday.”

Those positives that Lyon and Copp alluded to can quickly turn into negatives if Detroit allows things to go south going forward.

“We just gotta use it as fuel for the fire, because our January doesn’t get any easier,” Lyon said.