The kids of the Detroit Red Wings have performed admirably during the season.
Missing the likes of Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg for a considerable amount of time, the youngsters have scratched and clawed their way to the first wild-card spot tied with Toronto, one point ahead of Washington and two points ahead of Columbus.
The kids have helped keep the Red Wings relevant in regards to the playoff picture, but it’s those same kids that are making the hunt for a 23rd consecutive playoff berth harder than it needs to be at times.
The Red Wings blew another lead against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday night as Nyquist scored twice in the first period to give Detroit a 2-0 lead heading into the second period.
The Wild answered scoring three consecutive goals in the second and third periods to take a 3-2 lead.
Luke Glendening lost a defensive zone faceoff on the penalty kill, which led to the Wild’s first goal of the game.
In the third period, Brian Lashoff failed to clear the puck out of the zone, which resulted in a second-chance opportunity for Minnesota. A scramble in front of the net resulted, and Zach Parise converted jamming a puck past Jimmy Howard to give the Wild a 3-2 lead.
While coach Mike Babcock was happy with the three games prior to Sunday, he didn’t think they played very well against the Wild in the second game, per Ansar Khan of MLive.com:
I didn’t think anybody was great. We turned the puck over, we didn’t skate, but that’s all part of it. That’s all part of finding a way to battle and compete and get points when you don’t have your ‘A’ game, and I thought our guys did a real good job of that. We just ground away and played a lot of defense today.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the way the kids have performed this season and expecting these guys to perform at near-perfect levels all the time this early in their careers is an unreasonable request.
However, the Red Wings will only go as far as the kids take them. Jimmy Howard can only do so much — he was fantastic against the Wild. Despite only making 21 saves, the game could have easily been out of reach by the third period.
But the kids were only able to muster 16 shots against the Wild, including four in the second period.
They were overflowing with confidence after a three-game winning streak beating Toronto, Pittsburgh in overtime and Minnesota on Saturday. But it’s tough to beat a team twice in this league, and Minnesota showed you can never take your foot off the pedal.
Kids will make mistakes, that much is inevitable. But constantly losing leads is something that needs to be corrected sooner rather than later.
The Red Wings were fortunate to get one point out of this game, and the team will get some much-needed rest before traveling to Columbus on Tuesday.