Cellar-dwelling Wings take aim against Blue Jackets

Sports
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The Detroit Red Wings showed signs of progress last week, then once again played like the worst team in the NHL.

They snapped a 12-game winless streak by defeating the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday, then won a one-goal decision over the host Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. They regressed in a 4-2 home loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday, trailing by four goals until the late going.

Detroit will aim to be much more competitive when it hosts the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday.

On Sunday, the Red Wings only had two shots on goal in three power-play opportunities during the first period, then got off just two shots in the first 16 minutes of the second. They had 18 giveaways for the game, compared to just three by the Kings.

“This ends up 4-2, but that doesn’t tell the story of the game,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. “We just flat out got out-competed, outworked and out-executed. We couldn’t go tape to tape, couldn’t get the puck out of our (area), couldn’t get the puck to the neutral zone. It’s hard to play hockey when you’re doing that.”

There are plenty of areas that need to be cleaned up before they face the Blue Jackets.

“We looked like a team that wasn’t ready to play, and that’s ultimately on me,” Blashill said.

One of the few bright spots was the play of rookie winger Filip Zadina, the team’s first-round pick in 2018. He scored his second goal of the season off a rebound.

Zadina is trying to build chemistry on the second line with Valtteri Filppula and Anthony Mantha, who played his second game after returning from a knee injury. Zadina, playing in his eighth game since being called up from the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins, had three points in the victory over Winnipeg.

“I thought Filip Zadina was probably our best forward (Sunday),” Blashill said. “Filip is fighting to stay here. Other guys have to have the attitude to fight to stay here.”

Zadina has contributed at least one point in five of the past seven games.

“He’s playing with a ton of confidence, which is great to see,” teammate Justin Abdelkader said. “He’s had a great opportunity to come in and play. He’s been dangerous on the power play. He’s carrying the puck through the neutral zone, he’s making plays. He’s a guy that we want the puck on his stick, especially in the offensive zone. He can really shoot it and find the back of the net.”

Columbus won its first meeting with Detroit this season on Nov. 21, scoring three third-period goals in a 5-4 home victory. The teams will play once more in Columbus on Feb. 7.

The Blue Jackets, in seventh place in the Metropolitan Division, had lost six of their past seven games (1-4-2) before recording a 3-0 win over the visiting Washington Capitals on Monday.

“We see where we are at in the standings,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said. “We just need to find a way to scratch out points.”

Scoring has been the big issue for Columbus. The Blue Jackets are averaging 2.48 goals per game, ahead of only the New Jersey Devils (2.38) and Detroit (2.17).

Columbus didn’t need more than one goal against the Capitals as it silenced Washington’s potent attack. Oliver Bjorkstrand recorded two of goals, Eric Robinson had the other, and Joonas Korpisalo made 30 saves to nail down his third career shutout.

–Field Level Media

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