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Detroit Red Wings

Red Wings Fail to Close Out Needed Win Vs. Washington



David Perron, Red Wings

When the Detroit Red Wings led going into the third period this season, they won 88.9% of the time.  They were 24-3 in that situation coming into Tuesday’s game in Washington. They understand how to hold a lead.

That’s why the 4-3 overtime loss to the Capitals comes with regret.

The Red Wings led 2-1 after 40 minutes and then allowed a tying goal to Connor McMichael 35 seconds into the third period. They made another coverage mistake to let Dylan Strome give Washington a 3-2 advantage four minutes later. The Red Wings fought back to tie on Patrick Kane‘s goal from the slot with 5:20 left in regulation. Then they gave up an odd-man rush in overtime to allow Strome to make his second goal the OT game-winner. Alex DeBrincat was left behind on that goal.

With the win, the Capitals extended their lead over Detroit in the Eastern Conference wild card spot to two points. Washington has 11 games remaining, while Detroit shows 10.

“We knew how important the two points were tonight,” Detroit’s J.T. Compher told Bally Sports. “I think we’d love to have a little better start to the third period, but again we showed the resiliency to get that thing to overtime. Kind of a coin flip a bit for that second point, but we did what we needed to do to bounce back and get to overtime there.”

With the Philadelphia Flyers losing to the New York Rangers in overtime, the Capitals are now one point behind Philadelphia for third place in the Metropolitan Division. If the Capitals overtake Philadelphia, the Flyers fall into the wild card race.

“I think our guys are pretty good at judging themselves on the process and our team game has been good,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde said. “The underlying numbers will play out pretty well. This is a game where analytics will tell us we probably should have won but we didn’t. It’s just a matter of not leaving plays out there. Continue to build on our team game. We’ve had some positives of late, but it’s going to have to be even better going into Carolina on Thursday.”

Road Struggles Continue

The Red Wings have played well in their first two games of a five-game road trip against teams with better records. But they only have one point to show for those games. The team needs wins, not an improved playing level. Detroit has lost seven consecutive games on the road.

Detroit had 20 shots on goal in the second period, producing goals by DeBrincat and David Perron to build its 2-1 lead. It was DeBrincat’s first goal in 13 games and Perron’s first goal in 11 games.

McMichael’s goal was the game-changer. Momentum shifted. Strome’s first goal was further deflating.

“I thought we managed it okay. I think it could’ve been a little bit better, but there wasn’t a panic, there was no freak out on the bench,”  Compher said. “We knew that they would push. That’s a team right on the bubble, like us. We knew they’d push to start the period. Once again, we bounced back after that.

Compher said the Red Wings know they can play better. They have to make fewer mistakes if they want to seriously challenge for a playoff spot against Washington or Philadelphia.

“I think we’re still building it up after the tough stretch we had,” Compher said. “I thought we generated a little more offense tonight with the structure still being there. Still some things to clean up. A little better puck management. It’s still getting better but there’s still room for improvement obviously to get the results we need.”