The Red Wings host the Rangers tonight and have a lot to prove after Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh. An 11-2 loss embarrassed the team and leaves them looking to keep a game that skewed from happening again any time soon. All things considered, why is it important for Detroit to not have another blowout?
1. Morale of the team is on the line. With Sunday’s game being their second 10+ goal blowout of the season and the third loss in a row, having another large-scale defeat, especially at home will take a large toll on each player individually. These hits to the confidence of budding young players such as Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider can hinder their success in following games as they are still young and slightly impressible players. The Red Wings are entering a tough stretch in their schedule and need to have their heads on their shoulders to be able to adequately compete against teams such as the Rangers, Bruins, Hurricanes, and Panthers in the near future.
2. The goaltenders are taking a beating- quite literally. Detroit’s backup goaltender Thomas Greiss is out of the lineup still due to an injury and his replacement, Calvin Pickard, is now out with an injury as well. Alex Nedeljkovic started back-to-back games over the weekend and is inevitably tired and is out of his two main backups to pick up any slack. Victor Brattstrom was called up yesterday due to emergency conditions and is potentially going to see his first sliver of NHL action tonight if Nedeljkovic is given a break from starting. All around, the Red Wings goalie system needs to stop having these blowout games with 5+ goals against and not having back-to-back blowouts would help them even out their confidence and get back on their feet.
3. This is a Red Wings team that is typically better on their home ice. With their home record this season being 17-12-5 and their road record being 9-20-3, Detroit is a largely more successful team at home. Although their home successes are more common, the first 10 goal game for the Wings this season happened on their home ice. Coming home from a road blowout calls for a much more even-tempered game in which the Wings can use the home ice to their advantage.
4. To put it simply, nobody wants it to happen. The guys on the team do not want it, the coaches don’t, Stevie doesn’t, and neither do the fans. An 11-2 loss is embarrassing from every angle and this is a team that does not want to give up or fall flat to that extent. Coming into this game with a mindset that a game like Sunday’s cannot and will not happen again will hopefully at least light a fire under the skates of every Red Wings player, making them come out strong against the Rangers offensively and defensively.
Puck drop against the Rangers is at 7:30 PM EST and is the second meeting of the two teams this season. The last time they faced off, Detroit left Madison Square Garden victorious in a 3-2 shootout victory- one of their best games out of the 66 they have played so far. Looking to hopefully end their losing streak and at a bare minimum avoid another blowout, the Red Wings are happy to be home and ready to put their best skate forwards after a rough weekend.