Calgary Flames vs. Detroit Red Wings Pick & Prediction FEBRUARY 17th 2024

After a torrid stretch moved them into playoff position, the Detroit Red Wings likely were due for this step backward.

The Red Wings have followed a 10-2-2 span by dropping the first two outings in a four-game road trip heading into Saturday afternoon’s tilt with the Flames in Calgary.

Thursday’s 4-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks followed Tuesday’s 8-4 setback to the Edmonton Oilers, but Detroit has not lost confidence in its ability to generate offense.

“Obviously going (scoreless) on the power play stung, but I don’t know if it was so much execution or we just didn’t finish,” coach Derek Lalonde said after the loss in Vancouver. “Probably, when you look back at a lot of this game, our inability to score on the power play and inability to generate 5-on-5 had a lot to do with (the play of Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko).”

The Red Wings were blanked on five power-play opportunities, three in the first period, against the Canucks.

“Our power play has got to be better,” forward Patrick Kane said. “(Daniel) Sprong made a great play to me on the power play, and I have to bury that one. It was a good save, but I kind of shot it back into him.”

Detroit should receive a boost for the game, with forward Robby Fabbri expected to return after missing the past two games due to the birth of his first child on Wednesday.

The Flames are staring at their own woes heading into this clash. A 6-3 loss to the Pacific Division’s last place San Jose Sharks on Thursday has Calgary in a two-game losing skid and five points outside of a playoff spot.

Losing is bad enough, but a home-ice thumping at the hands of the league’s 31st-place club has the Flames doing some soul searching.

“I think the one area that I’m most disappointed in was the lack of competitiveness from our team, and you can’t say that very often about our group,” coach Ryan Huska said. “That one stings a little bit; X’s and O’s don’t mean a thing if there’s no compete.”

The Flames have a dismal 2-5-0 record against the four clubs at the bottom of their respective divisions. That many losses against the cellar dwellers is a trend with an obvious cause. The Flames have been guilty too often of looking past clubs they believe are not at their talent level.

“Disappointing. We thought it was going to be an easy game, then we just got outworked, and outcompeted, and that’s not normally like us,” defenseman MacKenzie Weegar said.

“When we play Vegas, Colorado, Boston, the top teams, we play them hard,” Weegar added. “And I don’t know why we don’t have that same mindset for these teams. It’s the NHL. No game is easy. Doesn’t matter who the opponent is. We have to figure that out, for sure. We’re losing some valuable points not being emotionally engaged.”

–Field Level Media

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