The Detroit Red Wings’ hot start is a fading memory. They’re headed overseas next week and hope to get an emotional boost when they host the equally struggling Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday afternoon.
The Red Wings are 2-4-2 after a 5-1-0 start.
“We came out with a ton of confidence the first five or six games and everything was going in the net for us, everyone was feeling good,” Detroit defenseman Ben Chiarot said. “Then we lose that feeling. It’s like an individual, when you have confidence, everything feels easy. You lose it and you’re thinking about how to get it back and thinking what you’re doing out there instead of playing (freely). We have to get some that swagger back and we’ll be all right.”
In their most recent game, the Red Wings dropped a 3-2 decision in overtime to Montreal. The Canadiens scored at 4:16 of the extra session after Red Wings goaltender James Reimer was penalized for holding Cole Caufield’s stick. Caufield scored the game-winning goal.
Detroit’s power play unit has gone cold. The Red Wings followed up scoring 12 man-advantage goals in the first seven games by producing just two more over the last seven. They came up empty in four opportunities against Montreal.
“We got our looks, we just didn’t put the puck in the net,” team captain Dylan Larkin said. “We threatened it enough. It’s frustrating, there are a lot of moving parts. We had success and teams were watching, and now we have to find different ways to generate Grade A looks on the power play.”
Detroit will play a pair of games in Sweden next week.
Columbus has lost seven of its last eight games (1-4-3). The Blue Jackets scored the first two goals in their last game before dropping a 5-2 decision to Dallas on Thursday.
‘We had a great start,” Columbus coach Pascal Vincent said. “We’re moving, we’re fast, we’re playing with pace. The structure is right and then individual mistakes that we don’t need to make — they made us pay every time. Then there’s a shift in the momentum of the game.
“Just momentum shifts. But it’s created by us. Small mistakes that become big momentum changes during the game, so we’ve got to get away from that. We’ve got to make sure that we stick to the plan. We need to show some composure.”
Captain Boone Jenner and Kirill Marchenko each scored a goal for Columbus. Dallas took the lead late in the second period and added two goals in the third.
This was the first game during Columbus’ skid that was decided by more than two goals. However, the margin against the Stars was somewhat deceiving, as one of Dallas’ goals was recorded into an empty net.
“We’ve just got to stick to our game plan for 60 minutes,” Jenner said. “I liked our start but the final 40 is not good enough to get wins in this league, and that’s what happens. A good team, they come back and they get it done.”
The teams met earlier this season, with Reimer turning aside all 23 shots he faced in Detroit’s 4-0 victory on Oct. 16.