The Detroit Red Wings need to bounce back after two tough road losses

The Detroit Red Wings need to play with a sense of urgency to make sure they obtain four important points on their current West Coast trip.

Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
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After two straight road losses, you can almost feel the wild card position slipping away. The West Coast trip started with a routing at the hands of Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers. McDavid recorded a career-high six assists in Edmonton's 8-4 victory over Detroit. That was followed with a 4-1 loss in Vancouver. Thatcher Demko proved why he's a Vezina Trophy candidate, making save after save against the Detroit Red Wings in the high-danger areas.

The lone Red Wing goal came from J.T. Compher after a nifty play from Ben Chiarot at the blue line and a creative chip pass from Patrick Kane. Detroit was 0-5 on the power play, which squashed any momentum they could create. Detroit played a pretty sound game but got 'goalied.' Following the game, Kane mentioned how disappointed he was about Detroit's lack of success with the man advantage and shouldered the blame. “The power play’s gotta be better,” Kane said after the game. “Lot of chances tonight. I wasn’t very good on the power play tonight, so I take responsibility for that. But (when) you get those chances, you want to create momentum.”

After failing to produce any points over the past two games, the Detroit Red Wings remain with 60 points on the season. The Wild Card race has ratcheted up, with the New Jersey Devils sitting a mere two points behind with 58 points and the Patrick Roy-led New York Islanders sitting with 57 points. Then you've got the Pittsburgh Penguins with 55 points and the Washington Capitals with 54. Any of these teams have the potential to get hot and go on a run down the stretch ahead of the March 8th NHL Trade Deadline.

The Detroit Red Wings need to find a way to salvage the current road trip.

Despite the loss, starting goaltender Alex Lyon feels optimistic about how the Red Wings played in Vancouver. “I actually thought we played pretty well tonight, visiting building,” Lyon said. “I thought that Thatcher was awesome. Difficult team to play against, it’s a very good team, and I think obviously every point is critical, but as I’ve said a million times, there’s gonna be bumps in the road. It’s not gonna be easy. Edmonton was a bit of a slap in the face, but I think we were on the right track tonight. I genuinely believe that.”

I don't want to say it, but it feels like the Detroit Red Wings find themselves in a similar position as they did last year before getting embarrassed in back-to-back games in Ottawa. Last year, the Red Wings went on a run during a lengthy West Coast trip that propelled them into the Wild Card race, but shortly after returning home, they found themselves out of gas and sellers ahead of the deadline. Could a similar situation be on the horizon? Maybe, if they happen to lose these next two games in Calgary and Seattle, but as unsettling as it may feel right at this moment, Detroit can quickly right the ship with a pair of victories before returning home next week.

The Red Wings lost backup goaltender Ville Husso to a lower-body injury in Edmonton. Head coach Derek Lalonde mentioned that the injury is different from the one suffered in December, but the veteran netminder will be on the shelf for a while again. It's considered a week-to-week thing, but in Red Wings' terms, that could mean month-to-month. So that means Detroit will need to look toward James Reimer to relieve Lyon sooner rather than later, which is less than ideal with the standings as tight as they are. I recently mentioned that obtaining four points on this road trip should be considered a success. As disheartening as the past two games have been, the Red Wings still have an opportunity to return home feeling confident.