Wings lose another game and player
FEB 21, 2013 9:33p ET
When you blow a 2-0 lead to the Columbus Blue Jackets — last in the Western Conference — and end up losing, 3-2, in the final minute of the game, there's really nothing positive to say.
The Wings couldn't even say they emerged from the game without any new injuries.
At 3:48 of the second period, defenseman Kyle Quincey got tangled up with Columbus forward Artem Anisimov behind the Wings' net. Anisimov appeared to get Quincey's elbow in the head as the two fell to the ice. After several minutes, Anisimov was taken off the ice on a stretcher to the Detroit Medical Center, where Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said he was alert and stable.
While Anisimov remained in the hospital overnight for observation, Quincey also had to leave the game.
Wings coach Mike Babcock said Quincey rolled his ankle in the collision and they'd know more Friday.
According to Wings statistician Greg Innis, the Wings now have lost 110 man-games to injury or illness through 17 games.
In the last season shortened to 48 games, the 1994-95 season, the Wings lost a total of 102 man-games to injury or illness.
Darren Helm has missed 16 games with a back injury. Carlo Colaiacovo has missed 15 games with a shoulder injury. Jan Mursak returned Thursday after missing 14 games with a shoulder injury. Mikael Samuelsson is up to 14 games missed with a groin injury and now a broken finger. Jonas Gustavsson missed 12 games with a groin injury. Todd Bertuzzi has missed 10 games with either the flu or a back injury. Brendan Smith has missed nine games with a shoulder injury. Ian White missed five games with a leg laceration. Johan Franzen has missed five games with a hip flexor problem. Jonathan Ericsson missed three games with a hip and shoulder injury. Jakub Kindl missed three games with a groin issue. Pavel Datsyuk missed one game with a shoulder injury.
With the way things have gone so far this season, Quincey will miss at least a few games.
To their credit, the Wings aren't using injuries as an excuse.
"It doesn’t matter," Niklas Kronwall said. "We have some key guys out, but if the rest of us can play the way we want to be playing, we would win a lot more games than what we have. That’s no excuse; we have to find a way to play better."
The fact remains that without all of those players, the Wings are in the midst of a five-game losing streak.
"I think everyone has to do their part," Henrik Zetterberg said. "It's easy now to do too much. You just gotta stay positive, stay together and work on the things that are not good and keep doing the things that are good. We're a good hockey team when we're playing the way we want to play. Unfortunately, at times we're not playing the way we want, the puck is ending up in our net."
The Wings really needed to beat a struggling Columbus team at home, something Babcock acknowledged.
"It’s just one of those games you’ve just got to win," Babcock said. "You have to find ways to win home games, and now we have two points out of a possible 10. Any way you look at it, that’s a slippery slope. We can make all of the excuses we want for ourselves, the bottom line is we had to find a way to win (Thursday night)."
It's going to take a big effort to turn it around in this next stretch of games. Nashville, fourth in the Western Conference, comes to town Saturday after beating the Wings in overtime Tuesday. On Sunday evening, Vancouver, third in the West, arrives.
Then the Wings head west to face the Los Angeles Kings (10th in West) and San Jose Sharks (sixth) on back-to-back nights.
Unless the Wings can improve their special teams play, wins are unlikely to come.
The power play fell to 28th in the league after going 0-for-4 Thursday, including back-to-back power plays in the third period when the game was tied at 2.
"That’s where the puck has to go in," Kronwall said. "No excuses. You have a chance because they’re down, it’s as simple as that. That’s where we lost the game."
The Wings have yet to score a power-play goal on the road this season.
The penalty kill is 25th in the league after allowing the Blue Jackets to score on one of their three opportunities.
There's really no easy fix. The Wings know they have to find a way to grind out some wins until they get some of their injured players back.
"I wish there was an answer to it," Kronwall said. "If there was an answer, we would have corrected it a lot sooner. We have to stay positive, stick together and stay the course. Hard work is the only thing that’s going to get us out of this."
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