Red Wings look for better start against Coyotes
“Maybe next game we’ll start down two,” Blashill said.
Saturday’s 4-3 overtime victory over the Carolina Hurricanes marked the third straight game in which Detroit has overcome a two-goal deficit to record a victory. The Wings rallied from a 2-0 third-period disadvantage to post a 3-2 overtime decision over the New York Rangers on Nov. 9 and trailed the Vancouver Canucks 2-0 before rallying for a 3-2 shootout decision on Nov. 6.
In truth, the Wings recognize this is not a blueprint for long-term success.
“The past few games, we don’t want to have the starts we’ve had,” Detroit center Dylan Larkin said. “We don’t want to wait until the third period, because that’s not going to last forever, but it’s good that we don’t panic in games.
“We find ways to win instead of ways to lose.”
Overall, Detroit has won six of the past seven games, and the Wings are 7-3 in their past 10 games. Only the Minnesota Wild and Nashville Predators, each with eight wins, have been more successful in their last 10.
It’s a vast difference for a team that started the season 1-7-2.
“I think it’s just a confidence-booster for us,” Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard said. “The first seven games nothing was really going our way and I think the mood in here, I wouldn’t say it was down, but it wasn’t great. It feels like guys are getting more and more confident.”
Howard sees a definite difference from the Detroit teams that missed the playoffs the previous two seasons.
“We’ve gotten bounces for sure,” Howard said. “We’ve been able to capitalize on some opportunities. Even when we’ve been down, we haven’t felt out of it. Even the other night in Carolina, it wasn’t pretty, but we found a way.
“Maybe that’s the difference between this year’s team and last year’s team. We found a way instead of just rolling over.”
There’s also been a turnaround in fortunes for the Coyotes. They opened the season 1-4 but are 6-2-1 in their last nine games.
“Rebuilding is not for the faint of heart,” Coyotes GM John Chayka told the Toronto Star. “But now we’re starting to see some traction.”
After beginning last season 1-11-1, the Coyotes knew that it was imperative that they get the ship righted fast.
“I just want us to be relevant,” Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said. “I don’t want to walk into another team’s building and have them think it’s cookie night, that they can play their backup goalie because they’re playing us.”
Arizona has scored an NHL-leading nine shorthanded goals, but it was pair of power-play goals by Alex Galchenyuk and Vinnie Hinostroza that paced Sunday’s 4-1 win over the reigning Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals.
Regardless, the Wings will be wary of the aggressiveness of the Coyotes’ penalty kill.
“I think a decent amount of teams get chances on the penalty kill and they’ve been able to capitalize on them to a level that’s probably never been seen before,” Blashill said. “I think the more impressive thing is now good their actual penalty kill is.
“It’s one thing to score shorties, but they haven’t given much up at all.”
Arizona’s PK unit has an NHL-best 91.8 percent.