The 'March' Red Wings returned on St. Patrick's Day in Pittsburgh

The Detroit Red Wings were blown out by the Penguins 6-3 on Sunday evening in Pittsburgh.
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The Detroit Red Wings, fresh off of a 4-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres, bucking a seven-game losing skid, rolled into Pittsburgh to square off with the Penguins on St. Patrick's Day. It was another must-win game for the Red Wings, as many of them will be down the stretch if they hope to qualify for the postseason.

Again, Detroit would be without their captain, Dylan Larkin, but there is good news; he's been skating with the team and is expected to return to the lineup sometime this upcoming week, whether it is on Tuesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets or on Thursday against the New York Islanders. Speaking of the Islanders, New York lost 5-2 to the Rangers on Sunday afternoon, which is great news for the Red Wings as they trail Detroit by just one point in the tight Eastern Conference wild-card race.

Well, despite playing an energetic, complete game on Saturday afternoon, the Red Wings reverted back to the team that had lost seven in a row. Detroit was outworked, outmatched, and out-hustled on Sunday. It's such a shame. I understand that this team overachieved through January and February, but Detroit isn't as bad as they've played in December and March. The peaks and valleys this season have been substantial and worrisome.

The Detroit Red Wings get blown out 6-3 by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Detroit received two goals from Lucas Raymond and another from Christian Fischer in the loss. They were outshot 15-4 in the first period and 40-28 overall. A couple of things that stood out was the fact that Jake Walman, Alex DeBrincat, and J.T. Compher all skated to a minus-3 rating. Again, there were far too many defensive breakdowns, too many turnovers in the neutral zone, and too many chip-and-chase entries into the offensive zone, which were far too easily retrieved and exited by the Penguins with little to no resistance.

The Detroit Red Wings are not getting the timely goaltending from Alex Lyon as they did from Christmas on. The novelty has worn off some, and although he hasn't been the 'problem,' Lyon hasn't been able to make that one momentum-changing save he had been earlier in the season. As Mickey Redmond mentioned following the game, Detroit's goaltending has been average at best over the past nine or ten games. It seems odd and wrong to say, but James Reimer gives this Red Wings' team the best opportunity to win right now.

Also, the Red Wings' defensive zone breakdowns continue to occur, which doesn't help whoever is in goal. Players, all of them forwards and defenders, are caught puck-watching rather than sticking to their assignments. The players are trying to overcompensate for others, in turn, leaving their assignments open, often in the slot or high-danger areas.

The most disheartening thing is that the defenders are veteran players. This simply can't happen, and the forwards haven't helped the situation at all. Is it time head coach Derek Lalonde has a tough conversation with Bob Boughner? Maybe. If the Red Wings do fail to make the playoffs, I can only assume there will be coaching changes ahead of next season. I don't mean Lalonde, but perhaps some assistants will be replaced. Something has to give after this collapse.