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Wings look to stop skid with help of special teams

Oct 21, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Detroit Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde looks on from the bench during the second period against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Red Wings have lost the special-teams battle during their current three-game slide.

They’ll look to end that trend when they host the streaking Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night.

Detroit has given up five power-play goals over the past three games and allowed another goal two seconds after a penalty kill. The Red Wings have one power-play goal during that stretch, a late-game tally while trailing New Jersey by five goals.

In Toronto on Saturday night, the Maple Leafs tied the game in the second period on the man advantage and went on to a 4-1 victory. Detroit was 0-for-4 on the power play.

“Very similar, underlying theme from the last two games,” Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said in a postgame TV interview. “Not able to generate enough finish on some of our chances and lost the special teams again. The penalty kill was much better, but we’re still down (one goal) on the special teams.”

The Red Wings haven’t had a lot of success scoring at even strength, either. They have a combined four goals in the losses to the Devils, Florida Panthers and Maple Leafs.

“It was our inability to score a second goal, with some great chances,” Lalonde said after the Toronto game. “Just our margin of error is extremely thin right now, and we were unable to produce offense.”

The matchup with Winnipeg will begin a stretch of three consecutive home games for Detroit. The Red Wings will square off against the Maple Leafs again on Thursday and will host Columbus on Saturday.

A loss on Tuesday would drop the Red Wings to the .500 mark for the first time this season.

Winnipeg, meanwhile, is riding a five-game winning streak. Most recently, the Jets defeated Vancouver 7-4 on Sunday.

Kyle Connor was the offensive star, notching his second hat trick of the season.

Linemates Nikolaj Ehlers and Pierre-Luc Dubois also were prominent on the score sheet. Ehlers supplied a goal and two assists, while Dubois had a career-high four assists.

“We used our speed to find each other, to get on their D and get some loose pucks,” Ehlers said.

The Jets weren’t satisfied with their overall effort. They led 2-0 and 4-2, and Vancouver tied the score both times. Axel Jonsson-Fjallby’s late second-period goal proved to be the game winner.

“I thought it was a little sloppy,” Connor said. “We’ve just got to be stronger, win more battles, make better decisions in our zone. Without the puck, we hear (coach Rick Bowness) saying it all the time, ‘We want to look the same as a group.’ It just makes it easier to read off of each other and simpler.”

The Jets have played five of their past six games at home. They’ll only have the home-ice advantage once in the next two weeks, as they will play eight of nine games on the road.

“You’ve got to play the right way on the road or you’re going to get burned,” Bowness said. “We got burned, and that’s just some harsh reminders out there (Sunday) about when you get away from our game. That old game slipped in, and we’ve got to get rid of that for 60 minutes, every road game.”

–Field Level Media

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