For the past several seasons, the Red Wings’ lack of offense has been their downfall in the playoffs.
Their inability to score was on full display again Tuesday night in Anaheim, where the Wings managed only 22 shots in a 3-1 loss to the Ducks in Game 1 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series.
For the Wings to be successful in Game 2 Thursday night, they must be disciplined, aggressive and create sustained pressure in the Anaheim zone.
Too often it was one shot-and-done for the Wings against Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller on Tuesday. And although Hiller made some big saves, he was never challenged by a constant barrage, which leads to the root of the Wings’ problem.
Johan Franzen, Val Filppula, Damien Brunner, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg need to generate more offensive chances and then put the puck in the net.
We can talk all we want about the Wings staying out of the penalty box, thus keeping the NHL’s fourth-best power-play unit off the ice. But the reality is, the Wings’ best offensive players must score goals — or they’re cooked.
Anaheim is beatable, especially 5-on-5. And against the Wings, the Ducks seem to lose their cool, which should play into Detroit’s hands.
Still, if you can’t put the puck in the net, taking the Ducks off their game is nearly impossible.
What’s most troubling about Tuesday’s loss is, the Wings scored just one goal. Sure, you can spin it, say that last week’s playoff push took a mental toll on the Wings, which affected their intensity level.
I will accept that, but only to a point.
For years, all we heard was that Detroit’s early playoff struggles happened because it faced teams that had to scratch and claw to make the playoffs; while the Wings had coasted to the finish line, their opponents were already playing playoff hockey
Anaheim had little to play for during the final weeks of the season, while the Wings needed every point. So you would think that Detroit had the advantage on Tuesday, but that wasn’t the story.
The storyline was all too familiar and disastrous for the Wings: a nonexistence offense coupled with giving up power-play goals.
If that doesn’t change, then this playoff run won’t last long.