Detroit Red Wings power play dries up amid winless skid

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

When the Detroit Red Wings were ripping off victories to begin the season, it was their special teams leading the charge. Detroit’s power play had been operating at a 50% clip, and their penalty kill had an 85% success rate. And don’t look now, but a five-game win streak has been nearly erased with three straight losses.

Saturday night in Boston, the Detroit Red Wings allowed one power-play goal to David Pastrnak, who also scored on a penalty shot. In turn, the Red Wings went 0-4 on their power play opportunities. Following the game in Boston, head coach Derek Lalonde expressed his displeasure with Detroit’s power-play unit, stating they only generated one scoring chance while he counted nine for the Bruins in the same amount of time. Lalonde mentioned that earlier on in the season, Detroit’s power play created energy and momentum throughout the bench, even if they didn’t convert. Saturday night, it was just the opposite; being unable to create any chances just ‘saps’ you of emotions.

Pastrnak’s penalty shot opportunity came following a slash from Jake Walman. At the time, Detroit had been trailing 2-1. Charlie McAvoy put Boston up 2-0 late in the third period; there had been no scoring in the second frame. Joe Veleno got the Red Wings on the board early in the third period, scoring his fifth goal in as many games with an absolute snipe past Jeremy Swayman. Veleno picked up the puck at center ice after Daniel Sprong stood up a Bruin, forcing a loose puck. That’s when Veleno dangled in past the Bruins’ defense and let go a laser from the left wing circle top shelf over the left shoulder of Swayman.

The Veleno tally injected some life into Detroit’s bench, and a few good scoring chances followed; the Red Wings nearly tied the game. That’s when Pastrank cashed in on his opportunity to all but bury Detroit.

"“We needed something to spark us, Joe’s goal did, and I loved us after that,” Lalonde said. “We had a couple looks to tie it, you could feel the momentum and then we just made a really poor play and we give one of the best finishers in the league a penalty shot, and he cashed in.”"

Detroit Red Wings winless skid reaches three games.

Despite losing to Seattle 5-4 at home this past Tuesday in overtime, the Detroit Red Wings pieced together a very impressive comeback only to fall just short in the end. It was a very good effort, and as they say, you win some and you lose some. The same can’t be said about the 4-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday. The Red Wings appeared tired, disengaged, and downright disinterested.

Before Saturday’s game, Lalonde made the morning skate optional, thinking his team needed to hit the reset button. Still, every player elected to show up to the rink anyway, suggesting they’d be ready to ‘get up’ against the red-hot Bruins. Unfortunately, the Red Wings played in the same manner as they did against the Jets, aside from a slight burst following the Veleno goal.

The Detroit Red Wings currently sit with a power play, converting at 34% (12 for 35), but haven’t scored with the man advantage over the past two games, going 0-6. It only backs Lalonde’s suspicion that the team has played with little to no energy lately. As the power play has dried up, so has the energy, momentum, and victories.

Look for Lalonde to shake things up ahead of Monday’s contest in New York against the Islanders. He made a slight change in Boston, moving David Perron up to the second line to play alongside Andrew Copp and J.T. Compher. That meant Michael Rasmussen slid to the third line with Daniel Sprong and Joe Veleno.

Next. Detroit needs a more consistent effort from Ville Husso. dark

Octopus Thrower
Octopus Thrower /

Want your voice heard? Join the Octopus Thrower team!

Write for us!

As the Red Wings search for some offense, I wonder if Jonatan Berggren gets one more opportunity in New York over Klim Kostin or Christian Fischer. The Red Wings have had Berggren in the pressbox of late; maybe he gets another chance before he’s sent back down to Grand Rapids. If Detroit elects to continue to scratch Berggren, it seems inevitable that he will be headed back to the Griffins.