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Wings getting a share of adversity

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
Red Wings' players react to Bobby Ryan's goal that gave the Ducks a 3-0 lead in the second period Wednesday. (Photo by Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, Calif. – It may be March Madness in the collegiate basketball world, but this month has been down-right maddening for all the wrong reasons for the injury-depleted Red Wings.

And Wednesday’s 4-0 loss to the Anaheim Ducks just may have represented rock-bottom for the Wings, who have dropped the first two games of their current three-game road trip through California and are now mired in a 3-7-1 funk.

Detroit concludes its West Coast trip in San Jose on Saturday.

“The reality right now is that as a group we’re not working hard enough, we’re not playing with good enough structure, and therefore we don’t look very skilled,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We have to have a look in the mirror and get it fixed. You go through adversity every year and we’re getting our share right now.”

The Wings gave up far too many off-man rushes and open lanes to the net, particularly in a three-goal, second-period for the Ducks.

“They were getting pucks deep and we had a few turnovers in the second and it seemed like every turnover ended up in the back of our net,” said goalie Joey MacDonald, who gave starter Jimmy Howard a night off following a 5-2 loss at Los Angeles on Tuesday.

It was MacDonald’s first start in Anaheim in his five pro seasons, which is iconic since he was once Ducks’ property, but never logged NHL minutes with them. Wednesday’s start leaves MacDonald with Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas and Winnipeg as the only NHL cities that he has not played in.

The Wings started out well and took advantage of a few turnovers that led to scoring chances. However Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller was up to the task, stopping all nine first-period shots that he faced.

“You got to give Hiller credit, he made three unbelievable saves where the game could have been tighter and maybe the outcome's different,” Babcock said.

MacDonald was just as sharp through the first frame and made a terrific left pad save on Bobby Ryan from point-blank range with 7 ½ minutes left in the first.

The Wings’ backup goalie made a slick save early in the second period stopping a quality Ducks’ scoring chance on a Kyle Quincey miscue. The Wings’ defenseman reached into the slot with his stick toward the net as Ryan Getzlaf tried to make a backdoor crossing pass to Teemu Selanne. But Quincey inadvertently redirected the bullet pass, sending it toward the upper right corner of the net where MacDonald snapped it with his left trapper.

However, the Ducks scored three even-strength goals from Selanne, Kyle Palmieri and Ryan – all in a 10-minute span.

“I thought we had a good start and did a lot of good things, got the puck to Hiller’s feet, then in the second we turned some pucks over and we weren’t good enough,” Babcock said. “I felt that (Henrik) Zetterberg’s line was good, but we didn’t have enough guys working hard enough or good enough structure, too many turnovers and digging it out of our own net.”

Only down 1-0, the Wings best chance came on a power play when Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall combined on a bang-bang play, but the Wings’ defenseman fired a shot right into Hiller’s midsection.

“I thought I had a pretty good chance when Hank gave it to me through the crease,” Kronwall said. “But other than that we didn't have a whole lot going on. We have to go back to the basics, get the puck up to the top and shoot the puck. All those cute plays, they're just not there. We just have to go back to basics.”

Detroit's power play also went 0 for 3, extending its scoreless streak to 0 for 28 since Feb. 28.

But a Brendan Smith mistake quickly gave the Ducks a 2-0 lead when Palmieri picked the rookie’s pocket and shoveled a backhander past MacDonald.

"I don't know. It was tough. I felt like the puck was bouncing on me all night,” Smith said. “But I still gotta make a play. It's bouncing on everybody else, too. I lost the puck and it ended up in the back of my net. So it's tough.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill

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