Wings show blemishes in OT loss to Blues
FEB 13, 2013 9:20p ET
For many years, they had Nick Lidstrom back on the blue line to man the point on the power play and Tomas Holmstrom in front of the goaltender to redirect pucks.
Lidstrom was also the calming force on the penalty kill for many of those years and could always be counted on to shoot the puck at the net in the hopes that one of his teammates would be there if a rebound popped loose.
Lidstrom and Holmstrom were both at Joe Louis Arena Wednesday night to witness a team in transition finish on the losing end in a 4-3 OT defeat against the St. Louis Blues.
The Wings took an early 2-0 lead on the Blues in the 45th time the two teams had met this season. (OK, the fourth, but it seems like more.)
In fact, it was exactly what the Wings had been hoping for, scoring from sources other than Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Damien Brunner.
Tomas Tatar, playing in his fifth game since getting called up from Grand Rapids, went to the front of the crease and beat rookie goaltender Jake Allen with a shot to the top left corner of the net for his first goal of the season early in the first.
Then it was Drew Miller scoring his first goal of the season, getting a rebound of his own shot five and a half minutes later.
Things turned quickly when the Wings gave up a shorthanded goal — their league-leading third shorthanded goal allowed — and a power-play goal and the Blues were right back in it.
"The part for me that was tough is the penalty kill goal we give up when we're trying to score, not even off a clean play and we get caught and then the line change goal," Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "Those are crazy, crazy, crazy plays."
The Blues took a 3-2 lead on Chris Stewart's breakaway goal. Datsyuk tied it in the second.
But in the third, the Wings registered exactly one shot on goal, with about 1:41 remaining in the period.
"One shot, but I think we had lots of chances," Zetterberg said. "We couldn’t score there in the third. I don’t think we realized it was one shot. I think we spent time in their end. We tried to get pucks through, but I think they blocked a lot of shots, too."
True, the Blues did block a lot of shots, a season-high 24 for the game, but the Wings have enough talent that they should be able to find a way to get a puck or six through, especially when they had two power plays in the period.
After 11 shots in the first period, the Wings had seven the rest of the way.
"You don't do that to Detroit often," Blues captain David Backes said. "That's a badge of honor."
Alex Steen won the game for the Blues 52 seconds into overtime when he got a rebound past goaltender Jimmy Howard.
Babcock has called the Wings "a work in progress" and he continued to sound that theme after the 4-3 loss.
"It's real simple here. We have to play with great competition level and great structure and attention to detail," Babcock said. "We had 'er going and we came off it big-time in the second period, stopped putting pucks in and (started) turning them over. Then we wind up getting one point instead of two points.
"It's disappointing but it's also the road we're on. Till we figure out for sure how we gotta play and for how long, you're not going to win on enough occasions."
Babcock also took some of the blame for getting away from playing some of the other Wings more.
"The other thing is as a coach, I could have played more guys," Babcock said. "And probably should have because in the end, we didn't get the result we wanted."
The Wings seemed to take a step forward last week with three straight wins, against the Blues, Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings.
But Howard was the one who won Sunday afternoon's game against the Kings, making 45 saves, so now it looks like the Wings have taken at least a small step back.
"To me, the big thing is just if you stick with it and you're mentally solid and you're committed to your plan for a whole 60 minutes, you've got a chance to be successful," Babcock said. "If you deviate, with the group we have, we're not going to win."
It's a group that no longer has Lidstrom and Holmstrom, and one that has suffered some injuries, with Johan Franzen added to that list Wednesday with a hip pointer.
Also out are Darren Helm (back), Todd Bertuzzi (back), Jonas Gustavsson (groin), Mikael Samuelsson (groin), Brendan Smith (shoulder), Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder) and Jan Mursak (shoulder).
The Wings have to figure it out pretty quickly as the Anaheim Ducks, second in the Western Conference, arrive in town Friday.
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