How odd was that game?
CENTER - DET
Goals: 12 | Assists: 29 | Pts: 41
Shots: 161 | +/-: -2
“We got a rough start. But after that I thought we worked ourselves in the game again. Second period we played really well, created a lot of chances, a lot of shots on net, then they scored two quick ones again like last time.”
Was the second period the best you’ve played as a team in some time?
“We did a lot of good things, had a lot of good gaps, and didn’t give them a lot of space. If we can play like that we’re a good team. But you have to put some pucks behind the goalie too.”
How frustrating was the bad start tonight?
“That happens. I thought we were right back in the game when we scored our first one. Then we just kept playing until they scored those two.”
Did you guys receive a lift from Howard’s performance?
“It’s a change. When Howie came in, we just held together and started playing a little bit better. We had some momentum going. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough.”
Do the special teams continue to be a disappointment for this team?
“We couldn’t get any goals on the power play and they get their third one on the PP and that’s a huge goal.”
Is it fair to say that the Red Wings are now chasing the Blackhawks?
“We don’t look at it that way. People over here do that.”
How far off is the power play?
“Last game, we did some good things but it’s hard to stand here and say we keep doing good things when we’re not scoring goals. We gotta figure something out. As players out there, we gotta do it and play better.”
Do you see a difference in Chicago’s power play?
“As long as I’ve been playing against these guys they’ve had some pretty good talent there and I thought their power play was good. I don’t know the stats really but going in, playing against a team like this, you don’t want to be in the box and that shows that they have a good power play.”
When did you learn that Datsyuk (illness) wasn’t playing tonight?
“Midday today. Hopefully he’s getting a good day tomorrow and feeling better for the Columbus game.”
What are your thoughts of tonight’s game?
Defense - DET
Goals: 4 | Assists: 19 | Pts: 23
Shots: 102 | +/-: -7
“Obviously, I thought we came out to play tonight, and unfortunately we didn’t get the outcome that we want especially with the standings right now; we need to make up some points. We’ll regroup tonight and make sure we’re prepared for Tuesday.”
You were called for the hooking penalty late, did you look at the replay, what did you think?
“I haven’t looked yet and I have no comment.”
How frustrating is the power play right now, especially since special teams can be a difference maker?
“Yeah, they definitely can be in the game. Sometimes you just need a lucky bounce to get things rolling. Maybe we need to get a few more pucks to the net, including myself up top, and try to get those dirty goals to get us … get our confidence up. But overall we’ve had good movement, just a matter of getting those pucks in.”
Would you agree that the second period was about as good a period you guys have played this year?
“I agree one hundred percent. Like I said I thought the guys showed up. I thought we played well. They’re a good team. You slip for a second and they’ll put it in the back of the net. So I thought we handle ourselves well. Like I said, we didn’t get the outcome that we wanted tonight but we’ll regroup and move on.”
Pittsburgh won today, how much do you look at the standings this late in the season?
“Pretty much every day. So, yeah, I’m sure we’ll take a look here and see what goes on tomorrow and like I said, we’ll prepare for our game and that’s all we can control.”
What makes the Blackhawks so dangerous?
“They’re experienced. They all obviously have played together for a long period of time, and you can just tell they’re sort of on the same page. They’re a dangerous team in the sense that they’ve got some skilled players that can shoot the puck and at any moment can give them time in space there.”
When you’re not scoring goals, how much does that eat at you guys?
Left Wing - DET
Goals: 17 | Assists: 20 | Pts: 37
Shots: 132 | +/-: 1
“There’s only so much that you can do, you know. I mean, it’s not easy. I don’t really want to talk about it but I guess we all have to score some goals. I don’t really know what to say.”
Doesn’t it affect the game though when the Blackhawks score two goals quickly in the first period?
“Yeah, obviously, we don’t want to be losing in the game but, I mean, we were playing good it’s just that we couldn’t score. We, I guess, have to find some different goal scorers.”
Did you think you guys were playing far better in the second period?
“I thought so too, but maybe the third we came up different and they were shooting and they were scoring again.”
The power play has been a season-long struggle, who frustrating has that been?
“I don’t know that answer really either. We switch units, we try something new and I guess it didn’t work out, and we have to come up again with something new. I don’t know.”
Mrazek is having a tough stretch, are you seeing anything different in his game?
“I think he’s big part of our team. I’m not really worried about it. Like you said, maybe a few goals were kind of lucky bounces maybe, like you said. But you know, he’s pretty strong minded. I’m not worried about like he will be playing bad. He’s a big part of this team and without him we would not even be as close as we are right now.”
What makes the Blackhawks so difficult to play against?
“To be honest, I love to play against them. They play nice hockey. I think that’s how every team should be playing. They are really offensive. They are having fun out there. They just fun to play against and their D-men are really joining the rushes and I think that’s what makes them really good.”
What are your thoughts on the game?
Right Wing - DET
Goals: 16 | Assists: 20 | Pts: 36
Shots: 130 | +/-: E
“I thought we played a good game today. I thought our second period was real good. It really comes down to special teams. They score two and we don’t score any. That’s the game right there.”
Were you aware that the goal you scored was barely onside?
“Yeah, I knew it was close. But the replay showed it wasn’t offside so it was a good play by DK.”
In light of the poor start, you score to make it 2-1, was there some relief on the bench at that point?
“I thought we showed that. In the second I thought we had plenty of chances to score goals. We created a lot of power play opportunities. We worked them down low. We spent a lot of time in their zone. Unfortunately we couldn’t get a puck in.”
How maddening can that be?
“For sure. Goal scoring’s been tough for us all year, for everyone. So we’ve just got to find a way to score more.”
Is there something you would do different to end the drought in terms of the team-wide goal-scoring difficulties?
“Obviously it’s not going in, so we’ve got to do something. We’ve got to get bodies in front of the net. We had a lot of good shots, we had a lot of rebounds laying around. I don’t think we won enough battles in front. I think that’s one big thing. We’ve got to make sure we win those battles to get those rebounds.”
The season-long issue with the power play, is there anything different now that you can put your finger on?
“We’ve been over this over and over and it really hasn’t gone our way. A few games we’ve got one and hoped to gain momentum off that but again tonight we had lots of chances in the second to tie it up and we can’t find a way. We’ve just got to work hard and get better at it.”
Playing without Datsyuk tonight probably didn’t help either, right?
“He’s a big piece obviously. For sure it’s tough to have him gone, especially against a team like this. Hopefully he’ll be back on Tuesday (at Columbus).”
What happened tonight?
Goalie - DET
GAA: 2.21 | Sv%: .924
“You don’t want to let two goals in in six, seven minutes, that early in the game but that’s how it is. We have to stay positive and go get the next one.”
Do you feel like you’re playing any different than when you had all that success?
“I wouldn’t say I play any different. It’s just pucks go in and I have to find a way how to stop them, don’t let those goals just go through me. I have to look forward.”
Do you look at bench when they score the two quick ones?
“No. It’s a coach’s decision what he wants to do. I didn’t look at the bench but then when the guys didn’t go to the faceoff, I was thinking that might happen.”
Did the first goal kind of handcuff you?
“It’s a tough, tough goal. Obviously I would want to take it back. First 10 or 15 seconds in the game, you want to stop those pucks but you know that’s how hockey is. Sometimes it goes in.”
Were you screened on the second goal?
“Obviously I was upset. Guys try to block it. It was almost under the ice, the puck and I lost it. It went through two of our guys and me. Bad luck on that one.”
You missed the game in Dallas with an injury, are there any residual effects from that?
“No, I felt pretty good. Didn’t have any issue with the leg, so I was happy at least for that.”
Can you point to anything since Boston game that you’ve had several games where you let in five goals and then today?
“Yeah, I have to find a way how to stop those pucks. I thought all season long, the puck is hitting me and everything and now I just have to find a way to do the same thing as before.”
Are you confident with your history of battling back that you can do the same now?
“I’m confident. That’s how hockey is. If you weren’t to make any mistakes, there would be zero goals on both sides. I have to battle through, battle hard and go get through the next game I play.”
|The Red Wings had something to celebrate when Gustav Nyquist score in the first period to cut their deficit in half. (Photo by Getty Images) |
What went into your decision to pull Mrazek?
“I didn’t think the first goal was one that should have went in. It’s one that Petr normally has, so then you’re down right away. Then the second goal was one that might have been unfortunate a little bit but it went in nonetheless and next thing you know you’re down 2-0 right away. I think you have to change momentum in the game and that’s why we made that decision.”
Disappointing that you were unable to bury that tying goal despite many chances?
“We got to bury those opportunities for sure. I thought we played really well for a large stretch. We got to bury those opportunities and we got to bury opportunities on the power play. We got out-specialty teamed by a large amount tonight, so between our power play and penalty kill, they both have to be better for us to win on the road, especially when you get down 2-0 right away. I thought there lots of our 5-on-5 game that was good but we got to find a way to be better than we were on special teams.”
What other wrinkles can you come up with to turn around the power play?
“It is frustrating but we got to fight through the frustration. I don’t know if there’s new wrinkles or just get back to what our principles are. Sometimes you got to reset yourself with your principles. Last game we did a great job of delivering the puck to the net against Chicago at home. I thought our power play looked great. Tonight, we didn’t deliver enough pucks to the net. We had opportunities to and we passed up opportunities to get it to the net, so we got to do a better job of that.”
What did you think of Howard tonight?
“I thought Jimmy played real well, came in and did a good job. It looks like he’s got his game in a good spot.”
What is your level of concern with Mrazek?
"He's come off it. Concern long-term, I don't have any. Long-term, I have tons of belief in Petr. But in the short term he's got to make more saves than he did today and make more saves than he has recently. So I'm not concerned about his game, I'm concerned about the number of goals and he's going to have to find a way to shut the door."
Do you expect Datsyuk back Tuesday?
"I can't answer that."
What makes the Blackhawks so difficult?
"They're very good on the power play, that's one area that we struggled against it, obviously and I think that's probably what separated them through the season. I saw 5-on-5 goals, goals for and goals against were virtually no different between our teams but their power play has been really good. Corey Crawford's been great in net and they've got real quick-strike offense and if you make mistakes, they can certainly make you pay."
"I don't know. I don't know that answer. I guess he wasn't able to play tonight so we'll see."
Some type of flu bug?
"Some type of sickness, but I'm not sure moving forward."
How much did Datsyuk's absence play a role in the result?
"To me, it's about who's in the lineup, not who's out of the lineup. Certainly Pavel's one of the best players in the world but you have to be able to absorb losing players and still find ways to win. They're missing Hossa, we should have found a way to win. We had a good enough team to win the hockey game, we played good enough at times to win the hockey game but we didn't win the hockey game so we got to go back to work on Tuesday against Columbus."
DetroitRedWings.com managing editor Bill Roose contributed to this report.