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The Red Wings took their latest loss especially hard, a 6-0 drubbing against the Maple Leafs at LCA. Filmed Nov. 27, 2019 in Detroit.
Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press
Rebuilds require patience, but patience shouldn’t allow for poor effort.
The Detroit Red Wings need to demonstrate they still have pride in themselves when they go into Philadelphia on Friday. They showed little on Thanksgiving Eve, giving up on their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs after the first period. At least the heavy Leafs contingent at Little Caesars Arena contributed to a lively atmosphere.
“We keep saying that we have to find it in this room,” Luke Glendening said after the 6-0 rout. “I’m sure you guys are tired of hearing it and we’re tired of saying that we have to do it. I don’t have a lot for you guys, I’m sorry. It’s frustrating. I’m always proud to wear this jersey and it’s something that I think everyone in this room is proud to wear, but we have to go out and prove we’re proud to wear it every night.
“I don’t know how much further rock bottom is, but it has to be pretty close. So we have to find a way to play a simple game and keep pushing forward.”
The Wings are 7-17-3, at the bottom of the NHL’s 31-team standings.
They’ve had ugly losses before this season – they went through a stretch from Nov. 1-6 where they were beaten by at least four goals four straight games – but the Leafs loss was different.
“For periods in all those games, I think we played some good hockey,” Frans Nielsen said. “Tonight we didn’t really at any point get to the level we want to be at.”
The Leafs pounded 26 shots at Jonathan Bernier in the second period, and outshot the Wings 54-25. Jimmy Howard started the game because Bernier was sick, but when Howard suffered a mid-body injury in the first period, Bernier had to gut it out. HIs teammates didn’t do much to make him feel better.
“We looked way off, especially in the second period,” Nielsen said. “It looked like two different leagues. I can’t really explain it. It’s embarrassing.”
Some fans may clamor for coach Jeff Blashill to be fired, but general manager Steve Yzerman has given no indication he’s going to make a coaching change this season. Yzerman has said he wants to spend time observing. He sat in the management suite at LCA when Wednesday’s game began but wasn’t seen there from about the midpoint. Maybe Yzerman had observed enough as his team’s winless streak grew to 0-4-2 and they were shut out for the second straight game. The Wings are without leading scorer Anthony Mantha, who is out at least two weeks, probably more like a month, with a lower body injury. The Wings ranks 31st in goals-for average (2.19), goals-allowed average (3.81), ranks 28th on the power play (14.6%) and 30th on the penalty kill (72.6%). Andreas Athanasiou (minus-25), Valtteri Filppula (minus-19) and Dennis Cholowski (minus-16) rank first through third with the worst plus-minus ratings in the NHL.
“It’s hard to stand up here every night and have to answer these questions,” Dylan Larkin said. “Maybe we take this feeling and remember it. We don’t have an answer now, but soon we will. There are positive things to look forward to.
Larkin bristled when asked about the effort in the second period, saying “every night we work. We might not make the best plays with the puck, we might make mistakes, but we show up, we work for each other.”
The Leafs took a 2-0 lead on a puck that deflected in off Nielsen and a bouncy shot through traffic. Larkin’s line with Tyler Bertuzzi and Robby Fabbri had a good shift after that, but the Leafs made it 3-0.
“If you look at the end of the first period, and our chances were fairly even,” Blashill