DETROIT -- It is beginning to sound like the same old song in the Red Wings dressing room.
Once again Detroit did not start on time, fell behind by two after one, mounted a gallant comeback, but fell one goal short, dropping a 3-2 decision to the Minnesota Wild Friday night at Little Caesars Arena.
After the game, the Wings lamented their slow starts and were at a loss for words as to why they cannot put together a full effort for 60 minutes.
It is something that has plagued them for years and the lack of consistency is beginning to wear on players.
If the Wings cannot figure it out soon, their playoff aspirations, which are already in great peril, will soon be completely out of reach.
Tyler Bertuzzi and Anthony Mantha (power play) were Detroit's goal scorers, while Luke Kunin, Jordan Greenway and Eric Staal (power play) lit the lamp for the Wild.
Backup goalie Jonathan Bernier started in place of starter Jimmy Howard, who was out with the flu.
Bernier faced 35 shots, making 32 saves for a .914 save percentage. His record now stands at 6-14-4 with a 3.30 goals-against average and .898 save percentage.
Devan Dubnyk picked up his 23rd win of the season for the Wild, making 26 saves for a desperate team that is fighting for its playoff life in the bunched up Western Conference standings.
The Red Wings fell to 23-30-9 and up next they host the San Jose Sharks on Sunday afternoon with face-off at 3 p.m. Sunday's contest will be the Wings' fourth game of their current five-game homestand.
Detroit is 0-2-1 in its first three games of this crucial homestand.
Minnesota next sees action on Sunday when the Wild welcome the red-hot St. Louis Blues to the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
1. Tyler Bertuzzi/Anthony Mantha: When the Wings played the Wild in Minnesota Jan. 12, Bertuzzi recorded a hat trick in the 5-2 Detroit win. Apparently Bertuzzi likes playing against the Wild. At 1:35 of the second period, Bertuzzi went to the net and made a perfect deflection of Filip Hronek's shot, cutting the Minnesota lead to 2-1. It was Bertuzzi's 15th goal of the season. In three games against the Wild, Bertuzzi has four goals. Dylan Larkin got the second assist. Bertuzzi finished with 23 shifts for 19:28, had two shots, one hit, two giveaways, one blocked shot and was plus-1. During a power play early in the third period, Mantha scored at 3:06, cutting the Minnesota lead to 3-2. It was also Mantha's 15th goal of the season, tying him with Bertuzzi and Gustav Nyquist for third on the team behind Dylan Larkin's 26 goals and Andreas Athanasiou's 22. Mantha finished with 21 shifts for 16:13, had one shot, two hits, one giveaway and was minus-1.
Quotable: "I knew in Minnesota they deke and you can get high tips in the slot and that's how I scored there and (tonight) Fil (Filip Hronek) made a nice shot and I was lucky enough to get a stick on it." -- Bertuzzi
Quotable II: "Again, we're just waiting for things to happen, watching them play. We're sitting back too much, letting them take the game to us. With our speed, we should be forechecking and we should be rolling four lines, playing in the O-zone and scoring goals like we did with Bert there. You get a turnover on the forecheck and get our D active and walking the line and shooting and guys standing in front of the net, paying the price to tip pucks. I just thought we didn't play fast enough. For the speed in this locker room and the guys we have, we got to just come out and really put teams on their heels, especially at home in the first 20 minutes of the game." -- Larkin
2. Dylan Larkin/Filip Hronek: Larkin has assumed the mantle as the team's best player since the moment captain Henrik Zetterberg announced he could no longer play because of his back issues. Larkin continued to be the driving force on a night when the Wings did not match the Wild's energy and effort. Larkin assisted on both Detroit goals, which marked 200 career points for him. Larkin now has a team-best 60 points in 61 games. Larkin finished with 23 shifts for a team-high 21:39, had a team-high seven shots, one hit, one takeaway, was 16-of-23 in face-offs and was plus-1. Hronek got the first assist on both Detroit goals, giving him three assists in his last two games. Hronek has replaced Niklas Kronwall as the quarterback of the top power play and he's proven to be more than capable there, as he has already proven at the AHL level. Hronek finished with 24 shifts for 19:37, had two hits, two giveaways, one blocked shot and was plus-1.
Quotable: "They (Athanasiou and Mantha) are great players, so you just get them some time and they make the plays. I feel more comfortable, I know guys more and it's easier to play now." -- Hronek
Quotable II: "I think for sure he's been very good on the power play. That power play, that unit looks dangerous. Double-A looks like he's becoming a real half-wall guy, Larkin has become a real bumper guy, Fil up top looks like he can do a real good job running it and Mantha's really shooting the puck on the other side so it looks like a number of our young pieces are becoming dangerous parts on that power play so that's great for us. I think Fil, I thought his game tonight was good and not good. There's moments of not good and moments of good. Part of the (Nick) Jensen trade is it opens up an opportunity for Fil and now he's got a number of games to grow and show what he is and show how good an impact player he can be. Now, with any of these guys, we want guys that can help us win games. We got to be better than we were here tonight. If you want to be an impactful player, you got to be a big piece of the winning process here. Not just on him, on everybody." -- Wings coach Jeff Blashill
3. Filip Zadina: The Wings are about to have two rookies named Filip in the lineup. They selected Filip Zadina in the first round, sixth overall, in this past summer's draft and he had hoped to make the team out of training camp. But since Zadina was eligible to play for the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins as he had been on loan from the Czech Republic to the QMJHL's Halifax Mooseheads, the Wings opted to send him there to gain some seasoning. After the game, Blashill announced that they were calling Zadina up and he would practice with the team Saturday and play in Sunday's afternoon game against the San Jose Sharks. Zadina is third on the Griffins in goals with 15 and fourth in scoring with 31 points. Zadina, who had an assist in the Griffins' 4-3 shootout win over the Texas Stars Friday night, has points in seven straight. Zadina will go on the Wings' next road trip to Arizona and Colorado.
Quotable: "Part of it was he can get a couple games at home. If he plays under 10 games, for contractual reasons it makes sense, and then get back down there and play games before the playoffs. If you pull him up right before the end of the year, then he goes back and hasn't been there for two weeks and all the sudden he's not quite as ready for the playoffs down there as we'd like him to be. We'd love for them to go on a big playoff run and him be a big part of it, so we're hoping he gets up here, he gets a feel as a young player for the things he needs to do to work on over the course of this year and through the summer and then go back and be a better player because of it and lead Grand Rapids." -- Blashill
Quotable II: "I got a chance to see him play him a little bit online and what I've watched he's been what I'd say more dangerous. When I talked to (Griffins coach) Ben Simon, he said this is what we're looking at. He said to me it's great timing because he's been playing really well. When I talked to our development people and our management people that go down and watch him play, they've said the same thing. After the World Juniors he came back and worked through some stuff. I know our development staff really spent some time with him on some video, working through a couple particulars they want him to get better at. I know the coaching staff down there has been working hard with him and I think he's starting to really take great steps forward to being a more dangerous player in the American League. The thing I like about Filip is his game is fairly mature. It's just been a matter of continuing to become more dangerous." -- Blashill