Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Detroit Red Wings

Wings have work to do

by Dana Wakiji / Detroit Red Wings
Red Wings forward Riley Sheahan tries to get around defensaeman Andrej Sustr during Sunday's Game 3 win at Joe Louis Arena. (Photo by Getty Images)

DETROIT -- The Wings did everything right in Game 3 except perhaps for scoring on the power play.

They held the Alex Killorn-Tyler Johnson-Nikita Kucherov line to zero shots, they held the entire Lightning team to 16 shots and shut them out, 2-0.

Now the question is, can they keep it going?

"Sometimes 2-nothing you can use that back-against-the-wall and maybe catch them where they’re up two," Brad Richards said after an optional practice Monday. "But they have an unbelievable opportunity, that’s what they got to be saying, to be going 3-1 back home. So we haven’t done really anything yet. We’ve won a game and that doesn’t do much in a best-of-7. So we better bring even more intensity and desperation."

Wings coach Jeff Blashill said he heard what Richards said before he came into the interview room.

"He's 100 percent right, we won one hockey game," Blashill said. "I told our guys the series wasn't over after two, well, it's sure as heck not over after three. We all understand, everybody in this room and us, that Tampa sits in a better spot than we do. They're up 2-1 so we better have the same level of urgency that we showed up with last night in order to give ourselves the best chance just to even the series."

Perhaps the Wings should invite former defenseman Vladimir Konstantinov to sit on the bench for warm-ups every game.

Konstantinov was there before the Wings' pivotal 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers in the last regular-season home game and he was there before Game 3.

But if the Wings can just channel the intensity that Konstantinov played with, they should be fine.

"I talk about next shift mentality, it's next-game mentality," Blashill said. "Last night's over, we played a good hockey game but we better play probably better tomorrow night."

CONTAINING JOHNSON, KILLORN AND KUCHEROV: Some of the Wings didn't even realize that they had held Johnson and his linemates to zero shots in Game 3.

"I didn’t know that until someone said that after the game," defenseman Danny DeKeyser said. "I just thought we limited their time and space. That forward line that was playing against them did a really good job of making sure that they were on the defensive side of them the whole night and not giving them much room or space. In the defensive zone they played really well against that line. We were able as D to just kind of move the puck out, chip it and they did the rest. They did a really good job."

This came after those three players had accounted for 15 points in the first two games, both Lightning victories.

The forwards tasked with trying to slow them down were Luke Glendening, Riley Sheahan and Justin Abdelkader, a group that has not played much together this season.

Blashill and his coaching staff discussed that possibility on the plane ride back from Tampa after Game 2.

"My focus to the players, those three in particular, was first of all, their best defense is good offense and trying to grind them and make that line try to defend them," Blashill said. "I don’t want any of our lines to just go out and simply try to defend. I think it’s too hard. You spend too much time in your end, and you’re bound to make a mistake. So let’s try to make them defend a little bit too."

Johnson was called for two penalties, tripping and hooking, Kucherov was called for unsportsmanlike conduct and Killorn got an end-of-game misconduct while Glendening and Sheahan both stayed out of the box. Abdelkader got an end-of-game misconduct.

"I only remember mine," Killlorn said. "Two of Johnny’s were trips, those are tough situations when his stick gets stuck in a vulnerable position. I don’t think it was a frustration thing, it was one of those things where we were putting ourselves in bad positions."

While DeKeyser credited Glendening's line, Glendening said the defensemen were there to help.

"It’s hard, they have fast guys on their team, just finishing checks when you have an opportunity and making sure that we’re coming back hard so the D can stand up and try and make them to have to chip the puck in," Glendening said. "The D were outstanding last night. They made our job pretty easy."

The Lightning expect more from Johnson, Killorn and Kucherov but they also expect more from all their players.

"We can’t be a one-line team," Brian Boyle said. "It takes depth and we’ve had depth throughout the year. They’ve carried us so far. It’s a lot to ask three guys to do in a series. It’s tough. We’ve all got to contribute. They’re going to continue to try and carry the load obviously. That’s their mindset. We’ve all got to take a piece of that mindset and try to carry that load ourselves. Every shift is an opportunity to do something in the playoffs, so we have to embrace it."

BOYLE'S DANCING ABILITIES: There was a lot of attention paid to Boyle's post-game antics when Abdelkader declined to fight because of injuries from previous altercations.

Boyle flapped his arms as if he were doing the chicken dance.

"I think everyone laughs but at that point of the game I think we're more upset that we lost the game than anything," Johnson said. "That's all we're worried about, we don't think about what happened at the end of the game, whether it be a Game 1, Game 2 or Game 3. You look at the results and we lost the last one so that's really all we try to focus on."

Abdelkader dismissed Boyle's gesture after the game.

"It’s kind of funny, but if he wants to do that, that’s what he wants to show, whatever," Abdelkader said. "It doesn’t affect me at all because I know what type of player I am. I stand up for myself when I’m healthy."

Boyle wasn't really interested in rehashing the post-game events.

"We’ve got enough to worry about," Boyle said. "We’ve got to play way better. We should be talking about that. It shouldn’t be 15 questions about the last two seconds of the game in which we got pretty much manhandled."

A day later, the Wings weren't even thinking about what Boyle did after the game.

"I think it’s being blown out of proportion what he did a little bit," Glendening said. "I really don’t think it’s that big of a deal. We’re here to play hockey. It is what it is. You can do whatever you want. It’s a hockey game, it’s not a dance-off."

View More