DETROIT -- The breakout stars for the Detroit Red Wings in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs hit a bump in the road Saturday night.
Detroit’s “kid line” -- Joakim Andersson, Gustav Nyquist and Damien Brunner -- had given the Red Wings a definitive spark late in a first-round series against the Anaheim Ducks and were a huge reason why they won three of four to start the Western Conference Semifinals against the rival Chicago Blackhawks.
Their work in Game 5 did not measure up to the first four contests.
“They weren't very good last night and they've been pretty good through the playoffs,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said Sunday. “Is that part of it? Hindsight is a real good thing. Did we all want the puck all the time? No.”
Brunner has four goals, which ties him for the team lead with Daniel Cleary and Johan Franzen, and eight points, which ties him for second with Cleary and Pavel Datsyuk. Nyquist and Andersson both have four points each, and Nyquist has a pair of big goals. He and Brunner have two of the team’s three overtime tallies.
Andersson has been solid at the defensive end, Brunner has provided offensive punch and Nyquist has caused problems with his speed and quickness. They were outplaying Chicago’s third line significantly in this series -- the Blackhawks had no points from their third trio -- before Game 5.
That changed Saturday. Andrew Shaw scored twice for the Blackhawks and was a threat to score a couple of other times. One of those goals was on the power play, which isn’t on the “kid line,” but they did struggle at times to get out of the defensive zone and get on the attack -- something that had been a strength in this series.
Nyquist played a total of 10:33, which was the lowest figure for any of Detroit’s 18 skaters. Brunner played 10:03 at even strength, and Andersson logged 10:17, which was less than anyone except for fourth-line center Cory Emmerton.
“We need to be better. We didn't have enough guys on deck,” Babcock said of his entire group. “Obviously as a coaching staff, we didn't get the job done and the group of players didn't get the job done. We weren't good enough. We weren't even close. Let's get our minds right -- much more so than our bodies right -- and be prepared to execute and be desperate. We were tentative. I thought we were tight. I don't know why.”