As if the Detroit Red Wings don’t have enough problems, they’ll have to play a few games without their leading scorer.
Forward Anthony Mantha, who has 12 goals and 23 points, departed in the first period of a 5-1 loss to New Jersey on Saturday with an undisclosed injury. He’ll miss the second game of a back-to-back on Sunday when the Wings, who have lost five straight, host Carolina.
“It’ll be at least a week,” coach Jeff Blashill said of Mantha’s absence.
The Wings played their worst period during their current skid against the Devils. They allowed four third-period goals after entering the period tied at 1-all. Their previous four losses were by a single goal apiece, two after regulation.
Detroit was outscored 3-1 in the third period during its previous outing in Columbus on Thursday.
“The game was up for grabs there in the third,” first-line center Dylan Larkin said. “I liked our game up until then. Same story for us, where they score one, and things don’t go our way and we kind of get into a shell. Pretty frustrating for us again, not the response we were looking for after the game in Columbus.”
The go-ahead goal went off a defenseman’s skate. New Jersey’s third goal came on a giveaway by defenseman Madison Bowey in front of his net. The Devils then scored on an empty-netter and a breakaway.
“Our play once we got down 3-1, I thought it was a joke,” Blashill said. “There’s a lot of time left, and that’s when I thought we played terrible. We gave up a lot of chances. You can’t play like that.”
Injuries have piled up for the Wings, but Larkin doesn’t want to use that as an excuse.
“With new faces in the lineup we’re a young team right now,” he said. “You’ve got to want the puck in the third period. You’ve got to want it on your stick and want to make plays and want to score that extra goal that’s going to put us in the lead. We didn’t have much of that in the third period, and it’s been the story so far this season.”
The Hurricanes also played on Saturday, with a much different outcome. They defeated the Florida Panthers 4-2 for their fifth win in six games.
Carolina scored the last four goals of the contest. Defenseman Brett Pesce got the comeback going with a blast from the left point.
“I’m probably going to frame that stick,” Pesce said of his third goal. “Let’s be honest. I’m not going to shoot that hard ever again.”
Martin Necas scored the tying goal. The 20-year-old from the Czech Republic has scored six goals this season. He had one goal in eight NHL games entering the season.
“When you feel the coach trusts you, believes in you, you can make some plays,” Necas told the North State Journal.
Dougie Hamilton’s go-ahead goal in the second period was his 10th of the season.
Carolina already has a win over Detroit this season. Sebastian Aho scored twice in a 7-3 Hurricanes victory on Nov. 1. Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard was pulled midway through the contest after giving up five goals.
–Field Level Media