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Babcock disappointed in Wings' effort

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings

Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith tries to defend against Islanders' Casey Cizikas in the first period Monday. The Islanders' center gave the visitors a 3-0 lead in the first period with his fourth goal of the season. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Detroit Red Wings)

DETROIT – Monday’s brownout in downtown Detroit grew increasingly worse for the Red Wings as the day went on.

So disappointed with his team’s lackluster performance against the New York Islanders, coach Mike Babcock took just one question in his post-game news conference.

“We’ve had a hard time getting traction,” Babcock said. “We had a number of injuries, but began to battle our way back to get some traction and I thought our intensity in the first period wasn’t good enough. They scored on their shots and I don’t think we did much. They didn’t do much either, but they scored.”

The Islanders scored three goals on their first seven shots of the game. It was all the scoring the Isles needed in defeating the Red Wings, 3-0, at Joe Louis Arena.

“The bottom line is we played catch-up all night long,” Babcock continued. “I thought we made it easy on their team. We never got in on their D, we weren’t physical like we have been, or heavy in the offensive zone. We had a push in the third period when we hit a couple of posts, but reality is, catch-up hockey is losing hockey, we say that all the time. You have to start on time, do things well. You have to be here the same amount of time to do it right as to do it like we did so you have to be disappointed in yourself for sure. As a coach, who’s supposed to be involved in the preparation process, we dropped the ball and so did the players. This wasn’t a good enough effort. When you’re getting booed off the ice after the first period, in your own building, the last day before Christmas, to me that’s a sad state of affairs.

“We’ll have three days to think about it obviously. Merry Christmas to everyone. Enjoy your families. We’ll get better at it and we’re going to be better than this because this wasn’t good enough.”

Besides the loss, which gives the Red Wings an unacceptable 6-10-6 record on home ice, they might have lost defenseman Jonathan Ericsson for the second time this season with what appeared to be an injury to his left side. He suffered a separated left shoulder in Phoenix on Oct. 19 and missed 10 games.

“Ericsson has been taken to the hospital with an upper-body injury,” Babcock said in his opening post-game remarks to the media. “We’ll have more detail tomorrow or the next day.”

The Wings received a dose of bad news prior to Monday’s game, as well, when goalie Jonas Gustavsson, who was originally to start the game, was a late scratch with a sore groin, general manager Ken Holland said.

Rookie goalie Petr Mrazek got the starting assignment, his third of the season with the Wings. He made 16 stops, including all 12 in the final 40 minutes.

“We didn’t really give him much help,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “What’s he going to do? He came up with some big saves for us. We didn’t give him a chance.”

New York added to the Wings’ woes by dropping three even-strength goals on the home team in less than a six-minute span in the first period. The Islanders took control of the game on goals by wingers Kyle Okposo and Michael Grabner and center Casey Cizikas.

The Red Wings’ best chance came in the second period on Luke Glendening’s wrist shot from the right circle. But Isles goalie Evgeni Nabokov made the stop, squeezing the puck between his body and left arm.

“I thought I was pretty close,” Glendening said. “I saw him look behind him and fall back, but that’s about as close as I’ve gotten so far. Hopefully one will go in sooner than later.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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