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Red Wings Resume Their Alarming Fall in Loss to Penguins

Detroit has lost eight of nine



Andrew Copp, Red Wings
Forward Andrew Copp is the latest Red Wings player to question the team's compete level.

There’s a lot to unpack following the latest Detroit Red Wings setback. Some of it puzzling, much of it alarming.

A 6-3 loss to the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Sunday was Detroit’s eight defeat in the past nine games. That it came one day after James Reimer was backstopping the club to a 4-1 victory to the Buffalo Sabres, ending the Red Wings’ seven-game losing skid, one question immediately popped to mind.

Why wasn’t Reimer Sunday’s starting goalie?

Instead, Detroit coach Derek Lalonde was opting to go back to Alex Lyon between the pipes. Beaten five times on 37 shots, Lyon would allow 4+ goals for the sixth time in seven starts. He’s lost his last seven decisions.

Meanwhile, former Wings goalie Alex Nedeljkovic got the win, improving to 3-0 against Detroit in his NHL career.

Over his seven-game slide, Lyon has given up 25 goals on 197 shots for an .873 save percentage. His game save percentages during the losing skid are .846, .892, .876, .833, .692, .885 and .865.

Lalonde left it open on whether he’d play Reimer on Sunday, noting that Reimer’s age (36) might be a factor. He sought to defend the work of Lyon following Sunday’s loss.

“It’s just a little too much volume on him,” Lalonde told Bally Sports Detroit. “He made some saves early on, gave us a chance.”

Truth be told, pinning this loss on Lyon would be entirely unfair. There were several conspiring culprits at work to create the recipe for Detroit’s latest diastrous performance.

Red Wings Compete Again Questioned

Last week, it was forward Patrick Kane who was expressing worrisome concerns about the compete level of the Red Wings. Following Sunday’s loss, forward Andrew Copp was joining in the chorus.

“We can talk about the execution and that, but it’s about being hard and compete and effort,” Copp said. “I don’t think we did a good enough job of that.”

For the seventh time in eight games, the Red Wings were surrendering the game’s first goal. The Penguins were 2-7-1 over their last 10 games coming into this contest. They’d scored one goal or fewer in six of those games, but were able to light up the Red Wings for six tallies.

Detroit gave up two goals in the last 1:07 of the first period and also coughed up a score with 21 seconds remaining in the second frame.

“It’s kind of defending 101,” Copp said. “You tie up the guy’s stick, you get body position and then you worry about the puck after that.

“We gotta outnumber guys in front of our net and I don’t think we did that.”

The loss was the fifth straight on the road for Detroit. That’s also concerning, considering that eight of the final 14 games of the Red Wings regular-season slate will be played away from Little Caesars Arena. That includes a season-high five-game road trip from March 23-April 1.

The only good news coming Detroit’s way Sunday was that the New York Islanders were 5-2 losers to the New York Rangers. The keeps the Isles one point back of the Red Wings in the chase for the second Eastern Conference wild card playoff spot.