"Quite honestly, the game stunk."
That was coach John Tortorella's honest evaluation of tonight's game on both sides, but his team has struggled to generate offense of late and the trend continued tonight.
The Blue Jackets made a push late in regulation when Alexander Wennberg spoiled Jimmy Howard’s shutout with one minute remaining, but it wasn't nearly enough in a 3-1 loss at Nationwide Arena.
“We've got to be better,” Wennberg said. “Right now, we’re not scoring enough goals and you can’t win games without scoring.”
And with a different look tonight (including four call-ups from their AHL affiliate in Cleveland), the Blue Jackets tried a variety of combinations to jump-start their offense, but to no avail.
“I think the guys coming up did a hell of a job jumping straight to it,” Wennberg said. “But I feel like especially for me, and the other guys who have been here, we've got to play better.”
Howard made 27 saves for the Red Wings tonight, helping his team end a two-game skid and get them two important points in their playoff chase. Detroit is now 35-25-11 and one point ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
And, much like Sunday's game vs. Tampa Bay, the more desperate team got the job done.
Luke Glendening opened the scoring for the Red Wings at 10:23 of the first period on a tip-in shot that beat Sergei Bobrovsky for a 1-0 lead.
It was a 1-0 game until Henrik Zetterberg finished a rebound off a Justin Abdelkader shot, giving Detroit a 2-0 lead at 7:16 of the third period. The Red Wings' third (and final) goal came at 12:35 of the third when Darren Helm beat Bobrovsky from the left circle.
“I think there were some passengers tonight,” Tortorella said. “That will be handled the proper way at this time of year and that’s my job right now is to make sure I evaluate correctly. We’re just not creating enough and I don’t want to see us lose our habits as far as our work habits."