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Talk is cheap for Red Wings

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
DETROIT – It was only a few weeks ago that the Red Wings traveled to Columbus to face a winless Blue Jackets club teetering on desperation.

Columbus snapped its streak with a win over Detroit. But since then, the losses have mounted for the Wings, who lost a sixth straight game Thursday, 4-1, to Calgary.

It’s not so fun being the desperate team, but that’s where the Wings find themselves heading into Saturday’s home game against the Anaheim Ducks.

And the tailspin has to stop if the Wings are to avoid a seventh straight game without a win, which last occurred in Hockeytown nearly 21 years ago. Ironically, that’s the last time the Wings didn’t qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs.
“We have to play desperate tomorrow,” forward Darren Helm said. “We need a win or things will get pretty rough around here.”

It’s pretty rough already for the Wings who have scored just six goals in the last six games.

“We need to go out and do what we're supposed to do and trust each other and let the rest of it fall into place,” said Henrik Zetterberg, who has scored two goals thus far. “If we do the right things, eventually we're going to start to win games.”

This isn’t the kind of streak that guys in the Wings’ dressing room are used to. In 2008, the Wings’ last Stanley Cup year, they went through a stretch where they suffered some injuries on the back-end and eventually lost six straight. But that squad turned it around.

This time is different. Other than rookie forward Jan Mursak, the Wings are healthy, which makes the current streak more puzzling.

“It’s already at a stage where it’s a little too quite in this dressing room, a lot more than usual,” Helm said. “It’s not fun when you come to the rink and guys aren’t talking, guys aren’t having fun, guys aren’t joking with each other. That comes from not winning. As hard as it is not to think about that, we have to put these six losses behind us and just focus on tomorrow and start from scratch.”

Already three-points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, the Wings must start winning games in a hurry or face a dire situation down the road.

“We can talk about this as much as we can, but it’s not going to help,” forward Jiri Hudler said. “We have to dig in and get a win, focus on details and play hard. All the little things and play simple shift to shift. Just play simple and try not to make mistakes. But losing six in a row, it’s hard to say.

“Obviously we’re frustrated, but there’s nothing we can do about it now. There’s a game tomorrow, Saturday night in our house. Let’s just turn it around. Play hockey and dig in, be desperate, you know? Do whatever it takes.”

It’s not like the Wings aren’t getting shots on net. They’ve out-shot their opponent in every game to this point. However, the Wings, who led the league in average shots per game (35.8) before Thursday, fired a season-low 29 in their loss to Calgary. Making matters worse, the Wings’ big guns were absent for much of the game with six forwards held to zero shots through the game’s first 40-minutes.

“We've got to think that every team we play is desperate like us, desperate for a win,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “So to me you just have to keep on coming, keep on coming and eventually things are going to go your way.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill

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