The Detroit Red Wings haven’t qualified for the playoffs in each of the previous five seasons. That streak will increase to six if they don’t start collecting more wins.
The Red Wings look to snap a three-game winless skid (0-1-2) on Thursday when they host the Winnipeg Jets.
Detroit coach Jeff Blashill knows his team has to start turning some of those overtime losses into victories.
“Not good enough,” Blashill said. “We needed more points than that. It’s certainly not the trip we wanted. We wanted to come out of here and get more but we have to learn from it.”
Detroit dropped a 4-0 decision to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday. The Red Wings then fell in a shootout to the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday and dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.
The Red Wings were fortunate to secure a point against the Sharks despite being outshot 40-19. A sterling performance by goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic allowed them to reach overtime.
“He got us a point, he gave us a chance to steal one, for sure,” Blashill said.
Tyler Bertuzzi scored one of the Red Wings’ goals in the 3-2 defeat. He has scored eight goals in the last eight games, giving him a team-high 17 for the season.
He also assisted on defenseman Nick Leddy’s first goal in a Detroit uniform on Tuesday.
Leddy’s goal came early in the third period, but the Sharks quickly knotted the score.
“It was the end of a shift and honestly, I just tried to get it on net,” Leddy said. “It ended up finding the net.”
Detroit played without its captain and first-line center, Dylan Larkin, who sustained an upper-body injury at Anaheim. The team is hopeful he can return on Thursday.
Winnipeg is just eager to get back on the ice regularly. The Jets have had eight postponements since Dec. 21, including a game originally scheduled for this Sunday against Edmonton.
The Jets have only played three games during that stretch, all on the road. They defeated the Vegas Golden Knights on Jan. 2 and Arizona Coyotes two days later before getting blown out against the Colorado Avalanche last Thursday.
When four more Jets players tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, the game in Detroit appeared to be in jeopardy. But Winnipeg was able to practice on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“You could argue that we’re rested, feeling good and Detroit is coming off a West Coast trip, or vice versa, we’re rusty, haven’t played a lot of games,” defenseman Josh Morrissey said. “For us, it’s about staying sharp in practice. I feel we’ve had a good week in practice here. We’ve maintained a sharp mental edge in practice, I feel.”
Winnipeg’s next four games will also be road tests, although it isn’t scheduled to play again until Tuesday at Washington.
“I guess after this game we will have another four (road) games but after that, it will be nice to get back into more of that routine of an NHL schedule,” Morrissey said. “No one is going to feel sorry for us out there. We have to be ready to go.”
Interim head coach Dave Lowry echoed Morrissey’s comments.
“You come in in the morning and you find out who is available. Then you try and put together a plan, you try and put together a roster,” he said. “We’re not the only team that has dealt with this.”
–Field Level Media