DETROIT — You can’t really sugarcoat it. The Red Wings are not good at shootouts.
After Sunday night’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Wings have lost a league-worst three games in shootouts.
Philadelphia, Toronto, Carolina, Edmonton and Florida haven’t won a shootout either, but none of them have three losses.
Of the eight shootout attempts the Wings have taken, they have scored only once, on a Gustav Nyquist goal.
"We got to take care of business there and we haven’t," Nyquist said. "If you don’t take care of shootouts, that’s a lot of lost points. Every point is still important. Down the stretch we know from last year and two years ago, it’s been close. You know those shootout points are really going to matter. We got to find a way to get them."
Meanwhile, goaltender Jimmy Howard has allowed five goals in seven shootout attempts.
"You have to be comfortable and right now I don’t think any of us are," Howard said. "It’s one of those things you can do it in practice, but once you get 20,000 people watching you it might get a little nerve-wracking. I don’t know, I’m not a shooter. I can only imagine it’s probably not one of the best feelings."
The Wings took a little time in practice to work on shootouts.
"We fooled around," assistant coach Tony Granato said. "Lots of parts of practices you do breakaways and different types of shooting drills and that’s one we threw in there (Monday)."
By fooling around, Granato meant that everyone was trying, including defensemen.
"That’s something, moving forward, we can get better at," Granato said. "I think we’ve got good shooters, we’ve got good goalies, so hopefully we can take advantage of that and figure out how to get some points out of that."
Stephen Weiss said he loves the shootout and is ready if called upon.
"I usually like to go when there’s something on the line, whether you have to score, score to win or score to keep it going," Weiss said. "I usually do better in those situations. Sometimes it’s easier in the game when someone is chasing you and you don’t have time to think, you just kind of go."
Some people believe that the shootout is just a skills competition and that the league should try a five-minute period of 3-on-3 if the five minutes of 4-on-4 doesn’t settle it.
"If they want to get rid of the shootouts go right to five minutes of 3-on-3," Weiss said. "We had lots of chances for someone to score the other night 4-on-4, never mind 3-on-3. I think you would see a lot of games ending in 3-on-3. I think the players would love it. The fans would love it and you’d get rid of a lot of shootouts."
Granato believes fans still like the shootout so the league should just keep it.
"I don’t think it’s lost its pizzazz," Granato said. "No matter where you are in the standings, one a shooter is coming down and you see 17,000 people come out of their seats to watch it, they still like it."
NO BABCOCK MONDAY
Granato led practice Monday as coach Mike Babcock had a personal day.
"It was different," Nyquist said. "But we had a good practice, I thought. It was fun to hear the other coaches get some drills out there. It was good."
With four days before their next game, the Wings took some time to work on cleaning up a few areas of their game.
"We did a lot of forechecks and we gotta be able to break out faster," Nyquist said. "We want to be a fast team and in order to do that, we gotta get out of our zone quicker so we had some drills for that. Hopefully we can clean that up."
The players are also trying to get a bit of a breather after playing four games in six days.
"It’s a good time for us to regroup," Howard said. "We’ve played a lot of hockey here in the last little bit. Take these four days to recharge because it’s going to be a hellish schedule here for the next five weeks. It’s imperative for us to kick back and relax and get our minds ready for Friday night."
WEISS GOOD TO GO
Weiss, whose trip to Grand Rapids for conditioning was cut short after just two periods in his first game because of a sore groin, is now ready.
"Physically, I’m ready to play," Weiss said. "I’ve only had two practices so it would be nice to get a couple practices in next week then it’s out of my hands after that."
Weiss missed the majority of last season after sports hernia surgery and a subsequent surgery to remove scar tissue.
Now that he feels fine physically, Weiss just hopes to get in the lineup.
"I’m super antsy, yeah," Weiss said. "The last setback was really tough to take. I was two games away from playing in Buffalo and I was really excited, and I was excited to play in Grand Rapids and get a chance to come back here and play. Those couple of days after it happened I was pretty down, but it didn’t take too long. I didn’t think it would take too long and I’m really excited to get another chance."
WINGS SEND COREAU BACK TO TOLEDO
The Wings reassigned goaltender Jared Coreau back to the Toledo (ECHL) Walleye. In a corresponding move, the Wings returned goaltender Petr Mrazek to the Grand Rapids (AHL) Griffins and recalled goaltender Tommy McCollum.
The Grand Rapids Griffins play the Lake Erie Monsters on Wednesday and then host the Texas Stars Friday and Saturday.
Wings general manager Ken Holland said Mrazek would play Wednesday and Friday and then return to the Wings on Saturday.
While Mrazek is starting for the Griffins, McCollum will practice with the Wings.
Jonas Gustavsson is out two months with a dislocated left shoulder.