Detroit Red Wings: What went wrong on the road trip?

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 15: Dylan Larkin #71 of the Detroit Red Wings controls the puck during the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on November 15, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 15: Dylan Larkin #71 of the Detroit Red Wings controls the puck during the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on November 15, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /
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Last night, the Detroit Red Wings wrapped up a three-game road trip in fitting fashion: a disappointing overtime loss. In the standings, it wasn’t particularly disastrous – the Wings collected two points in the trip (one from an overtime loss and one from a shootout loss). But to anyone that stayed up to watch, it was clear that the trip was a failure.

So what went wrong?

The defense was terrible

This has been a constant all season, but it was glaringly obvious in the three-game stretch. Red Wings players were missing assignments, allowing opponents to have grade A chances in high danger spots (namely, right at the front of the net and at the slot). The forwards weren’t doing enough in the defensive zone to really pressure opponents and the defensemen had trouble tracking the puck (especially when the puck was on the stick of quicker forwards, like San Jose’s Tomas Hertl).

Poor offense

The Red Wings put up five goals in the three games – not terrible, but not great. However, throughout the three games, Detroit was outshot 109-76, only outshooting the Anaheim Ducks. The forwards had trouble generating consistent offense, even among the top lines.

This was perhaps the most concerning aspect of the trip. Fans are used to bad defense this season, but the poor offensive showings are becoming more and more frequent. When this team has gotten hot, it’s been off the backs of the top line churning out goals. When those three don’t show up on the stat sheet, it typically spells disaster for the rest of the squad.

Injuries to wrap things up

To add insult to injury (literally), the Red Wings aren’t just heading back without a win, they’re heading back with an injured team captain. Although he’s just day-to-day, any amount of time without Dylan Larkin is a disaster for the team. Luckily, the other injuries on throughout the three game-stretch were minor, including a puck to the face for Moritz Seider, a massive hit on Gustav Lindstrom and a cut on the wrist for Tyler Bertuzzi.

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