The Detroit Red Wings’ offensive woes have led to back-to-back losses, but a date with the struggling New York Rangers may help them get back on track.
Detroit hopes to avoid being shut out in three straight games for the first time in its storied history Monday night when it hosts New York, which has lost four in a row.
The Red Wings (31-15-6) went scoreless for the second consecutive game Saturday in a 3-0 loss to Nashville, falling by the same score Friday against Columbus after scoring a season-high-tying seven goals Wednesday in a win at Ottawa. Detroit was shut out in two straight games twice last season but responded with a victory in both instances.
The offense may get a boost Monday, with forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom each nearing a return from a broken right hand.
The Red Wings have been shut out three times this season, and they’ve outshot their opponent in each of those games. They last lost three straight Dec. 4-8.
“We were chasing. We were behind again,” captain Nicklas Lidstrom said Saturday. “When we’re chasing, we’re shooting the puck a lot more. That’s something we want to do earlier in the game.”
Detroit went 0 for 4 on the power play against the Predators and is now 2 for 28 with the man advantage over the last nine games. Detroit also allowed a short-handed goal late in the second period.
“If you look at the specialty teams, they won the battle,” coach Mike Babcock said.
Joey MacDonald made 26 saves Saturday but fell to 1-3-1 when giving regular starter Jimmy Howard a rest. Howard won the only start of his career against the Rangers, making 28 saves in a 3-1 victory Dec. 6, 2009.
That was the last time the teams met, and it marked Detroit’s 13th victory in the last 15 matchups against its Original Six rival – including the fourth in a row.
New York (29-22-4) hopes to avoid its first five-game overall losing streak since Jan. 21-30, 2010. Coach John Tortorella benched goaltender Henrik Lundqvist – who gave up 10 goals in his last three starts – in favor of Martin Biron for Saturday’s game, but the offense let him down in a 2-0 loss at Montreal.
The Rangers went 0 for 4 on the power play and are just 1 for 35 with the man advantage in their last 11 road games.
“Obviously with the score, it could have gone either way,” Tortorella said. “They end up scoring a goal, we don’t capitalize on some chances, and our power play doesn’t work. That’s why they win.”
Tortorella praised Biron after publicly calling out Lundqvist earlier in the week for his recent poor play. Biron stopped 27 of 28 shots and has allowed only two goals in his last 180 minutes in net.
However, neither he nor Lundqvist has been very successful against the Red Wings. Biron is 1-2-0 with a 3.25 goals-against average in four career appearances, while Lundqvist is 0-3-1 with a 3.78 GAA lifetime against Detroit.
The Red Wings have won nine of the last 10 meetings in Detroit, including five in a row since a 3-2 defeat Jan. 30, 1999.
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