Detroit Red Wings make an ugly game look better on paper with late-game efforts

The Detroit Red Wings may have come back, but things were ugly in Tuesday night's loss against Dallas.

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jeff Petry (46) and Dallas Stars forward Ty Dellandrea collide with a body check during Tuesday night's game.
Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jeff Petry (46) and Dallas Stars forward Ty Dellandrea collide with a body check during Tuesday night's game. / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Red Wings have been on a hot streak as of late. When it has come to putting the pieces together, the Red Wings have been able to do just that. Being able to go out and get the job done night and night out has not been an issue for Detroit. But, on Tuesday night, the team ran into trouble against the Stars.

The Detroit Red Wings may have only lost by a goal, and in the waning seconds, they were on the heels of a comeback, but the team could not muster up enough to make it back from the three-goal deficit, falling short by one. Even with a great stretch of play from Detroit lately, somethings going to have to give.

Sure, the Red Wings have a regulation loss and overtime loss in their last stretch of games since flipping the calendar to January, but with the run they're on, they were bound to have an off-night. While the Red Wings did come marching back, they fell short of the five goals Dallas managed, primarily due to their defensive collapse.

It feels wrong to sit here and call the Red Wings done in terms of their hot play as of late. The defense was troublesome, and we'll get to that, but the offense kicked into gear and did have three powerplay goals, plus a 6-on-5 goal. It's worth noting and leaves something to be said about the team still playing hot, even with a rough game defensively and between the pipes.

Detroit Red Wings loss to Dallas looks much better on paper.

Early on, the tone is that the Red Wings did alright, and the streak of good performances should not be deemed over. Sure, offensively, Detroit kept things in gear, and the Red Wings are still playing good hockey in January. However, their defensive zone mistakes were extremely costly on Tuesday night.

Detroit allowed early goals in the first and second periods, letting Dallas set the tone for things, which was problematic. The problem was that Detroit's play in the defensive zone was akin to some beer-league buddies getting together to play that was the problem. Dallas was leaving defenders cooked.

The Stars looked superior when on offense, whether it was releasing and becoming uncovered, finding open ice, taking advantage of gaps, or just plainly capitalizing on turnovers. It was a marginal difference, too. In the second period it felt like the Red Wings were three strides behind the Stars, leaving players like Roope Hintz and Wyatt Johnston to skate all over them and make things happen offensively.

It's part of the reason Dallas came out on top. Roope Hintz snuck around the net undetected after a scoring chance as Dallas came into the zone setting up a scoring chance. He swung around the net and cut between the Red Wings defense pairing to gobble up a loose puck and find a way to bat it past Alex Lyon for a Dallas goal.

Wyatt Johnston's speed and play-making were a problem, as were getting open ice and good gaps when entering the zone or just forcing turnovers and being in the right place to make things happen. It was something Detroit was struggling to do right, and the Stars realized this.

On top of all this, Lyon had an off-night. After being in the driver's seat between the crease as of late, he took a beating out there. Dallas took it to him, and head coach Derek Lalonde opted to give him the third period off, putting in James Reimer for the remainder of the game. Lyon has taken the bulk of the workload this month, which may leave him a bit fatigued, so a night off, allowing Reimer to jump in, could be beneficial.

There's no place for excuses in the Detroit Red Wings loss, either.

I'm not trying to sit here and make excuses, either. Detroit's defensive play was terrible. They were horrendous in the defensive zone, and Dallas's offense found a way to capitalize on mistakes and shortcomings from Detroit. It's what allowed them to get out to a three-goal lead. Lyon's off-night was bound to happen.

But, on the flip side, to bring a little positivity, the team's powerplay certainly looked the part. They had three goals on four powerplay attempts, with that last one abbreviated by the game's conclusion. With an extra-attacker/6-on-5 goal for Detroit, too, they were superior with a man advantage, firing on all cylinders and creating scoring chances.

Even in the early parts of the game, Detroit was creating scoring chances. Jake Oettinger had the answers and kept the puck out of the net early on. There were a couple of excellent chances that if just one of those goes in, Detroit's tied with Dallas at the end of things. Sure, you can point fingers at the offsides call that took away Christian Fischer's goal, which would have tied things, but it was offsides; there's no denying that.

But, for Detroit, they'll have a chance to regroup and hit the ice again on Thursday night. They'll see Philadelphia come to town without primary goaltender Carter Hart, who stepped away from the team indefinitely.