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Trending: Wings drift away from structure in loss to Oilers

Abdelkader records two points for the third straight game

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

DETROIT -- The Red Wings said all the right things before their game against the Edmonton Oilers.

But when it came time to play, the Wings left their structure behind and allowed a team that had been blown out, 8-3, in St. Louis the night before to take a 6-2 victory at Little Caesars Arena Wednesday night.

Wings coach Jeff Blashill said it best when talking about losing two straight games to teams on the second half of back-to-back contests.

"I know one thing for certain, we better never use back-to-backs as an excuse for the rest of the year," Blashill said. "I know that for certain because we haven't taken care of business the other way."

Tomas Tatar (power play) and Niklas Kronwall scored for Detroit.

Darnell Nurse, Patrick Maroon, Jujhar Khaira, Mark Letestu, Drake Caggiula and Jesse Puljujarvi scored for Edmonton.

The Wings fell to 10-9-3 overall, 4-3-3 at home. The Oilers improved to 8-12-2 overall, 4-5-2 on the road.

1. Second period: The Wings had actually outscored opponents 23-20 in the second period this season while the Oilers had been outscored 21-14 but those statistics changed during the second Wednesday night. The Oilers got as many goals in the second as the Wings had shots - three. Khaira, Letestu and Caggiula all scored, giving Edmonton a 5-2 lead heading into the third. Letestu was skating in his 500th career game. After Letestu's goal, the Wings switched from Jimmy Howard to Petr Mrazek. Howard allowed four goals on 19 shots.

Quotable: "Jimmy's been great for us. We had three shots in the second period, it certainly wasn't Jimmy's fault. So Jimmy's been great, he's played lots of hockey, Pete hasn't played in a while, we had no momentum. I hoped it would switch momentum a little bit, I hoped it would raise our guys' urgency level, I hoped it would kind of slap our guys in the face to say, here's a guy that's been great for us and we're letting him down, here's another guy that's been great, working hard, trying to make himself ready, let's make sure we play great for him. We were certainly better in the third, but at that point it's 5-2." - Blashill

Quotable II: "It's a little bit of stupidity and wanting to do too much. We know that when we are playing with speed, most of the time we're putting the puck behind them and get through the neutral zone. When we don't do that, we're not a fast team and we're easier to play against." - Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg

2. Anthony Mantha : Mantha has been one of the Wings' best players this season, his 19 points second only to Dylan Larkin's 20. Mantha is the team's only double-digit goal scorer with 10 goals. However, in the last two games, a 4-3 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday and Wednesday's 6-2 loss to the Oilers, Mantha has recorded no points and six total shots in 17:35 and 18:49 ice time, respectively. Blashill believes that Mantha can be an elite NHL player but that requires consistency on an everyday basis.

Quotable: "It's a hard league if you don't show up with shift to shift intensity every single night. We've got some young guys that have realty helped in our success when we've had success. With those types of minutes comes big-time responsibility. Anthony Mantha's got to be way better, way better. It's not OK to just be a passenger when you're given the opportunity to be an impact player. He's not alone, but certainly he's a guy, I said to him at the beginning of the year for us to be great, you got to be great. I think he's gone through large stretches of being great. He hasn't been great the last two games." - Blashill

3. Justin Abdelkader : Abdelkader was one of several Wings looking to have a bounce-back season after a miserable, injury-filled campaign last year. Abdelkader had seven goals, 14 assists and finished a career-worst minus-20. Abdelkader assisted on both of the Wings' goals Wednesday, giving him 12 assists to go along with four goals. Abdelkader has recorded two goals and 10 assists in his last 11 games.

Quotable: "Obviously, we knew they were going to come in with a chip in their shoulder. They're a good team. Obviously, it hasn't gone the right way for them. You can't take any team for granted. Obviously, on back to backs, both teams we played (last two games) have come in and played well. You kind of want to take their will away and get off to a good start. We talked about that, we just haven't done that, haven't played the right way, what we need to do to be successful." - Abdelkader

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