Wings' rally falls short in 4-3 loss to Blackhawks
DETROIT -- Thankfully for the Red Wings and their fans, it was only a preseason game.
In a contest that featured juicy rebounds, unforced giveaways, mind-boggling mental lapses and a scrambling last-minute comeback attempt, the Red Wings lost to the Chicago Blackhawks, 4 -3, Sunday at Joe Louis Arena.
Detroit’s only bright spots were the play of rookie Tomas Tatar -- who notched two of the Wings' three goals -- and the jump of his line mates, Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson, which pleased Wings coach Mike Babcock. He didn't like the overall effort, though.
"You start on time, you get ahead and you close out the game," Babcock said. "That’s how hockey works. Catch-up hockey is losing hockey -- let’s not kid ourselves.”
Babcock has always preached that the Wings need to start on time to be victorious, but his team was sluggish for most of the game, giving the defending Stanley Cup Champions an easy night.
Chicago had a 4-1 third-period lead before Tatar scored his second of the night. Then, with goalie Jared Coreau pulled during the last minute of play, defenseman Jonathan Ericsson cut the Hawks led to one.
The game ended with a mad flurry in the Blackhawks' goal crease and Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg almost getting the tying tally.
“We had a good push at the end,” Babcock said. “I didn't like that we gifted so many goals. To me, it was uncalled for."
Jimmy Howard gave up four goals on 20 shots before being replaced by Jared Coreau (four saves) early in the third period.
"It was good Coreau got another opportunity," Babcock said. "That was a positive thing."
Heading into Sunday’s game, the Wings were looking for offense outside of their top line of Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader.
They might have found some from Tatar, Nyquist, and Andersson. The line was a combined plus-5, and in addition to Tatar’s two goals, Nyquist assisted on each Red Wings goal.
“I feel great on the ice," Tatar said. "I’m happy that my shots are ending up in the net. But today we lost, so at the end of the day, it’s nothing.
“You have to earn your spot. Everybody knows there are too many forwards here right now."
With the loss, the Wings' preseason record falls to 2-3. Their next game is Wednesday night at the Joe vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Red Wing GM Ken Holland told reporters on Sunday that forward Jordan Tootoo is day to day with an injured shoulder. Tootoo hurt his shoulder during Detroit’s 8-2 preseason win in Boston last Wednesday.
• After Sunday’s the game, the Wings trimmed their roster by sending several players to Grand Rapids. Detroit hasn’t officially released the player’s names, but it was a move that was expected.
With this being the final week of the preseason, the Wings wanted to get down to a more manageable roster so they could have what Babcock calls, “an NHL practice.”