No overtime needed. No shootout necessary.
The Red Wings found a way to lose this one quietly, within the normal allotment of 60 minutes.
The Wings sleepwalked their way through a 2-0 loss to the Nashville Predators at the Joe tonight. Forget about where the game was played—although the home winless streak is now at a grisly eight games. They could have played this one in Timbuktu and the Red Wings wouldn’t have had a chance to win.
When you don’t play with confidence, you look like you’re uninspired. The Red Wings are starting to show cracks, starting to exhibit evidence of a team being crushed in spirit by the inability to grab two points.
The game was scoreless until :05 left in the second period, when Red Wings killer Shea Weber blasted a slap shot past Jimmy Howard, through traffic, and the power play goal gave the Preds a 1-0 lead. Gabriel Bourque added an un-needed insurance goal at 7:13 of the third period, tapping in a loose puck after a shot wide banged off the boards and into the goal crease.
But even though the teams played 39:55 of scoreless hockey before Weber’s goal, the Red Wings weren’t terribly engaged. They, frankly, were playing like a team expecting the other skate to fall.
The Red Wings iced the puck with maddening regularity, usually as a result of poor outlet passing. They created precious few scoring chances. They didn’t crash the net. Nashville goalie Marek Mazanec won’t get a much more stress-free shutout than the one he got tonight.
It was yet another night when the visitors came in and had their way with the Red Wings. The crowd was too stunned—or too bored—to boo or put up much of a fuss.
BOTTOM LINE: The Red Wings took a giant step backward tonight. Chris Osgood and Darren Eliot each used the word “disturbing” in describing the team’s play on the FSD post-mortem. Hard to argue.
THE WINGED WHEELER SAYS: 22 games have been played and the Red Wings are still struggling to find their way. The 9-6-7 record doesn’t look terrible, but with the way they performed against the Preds, it gives one pause. Are they tuning coach Mike Babcock out? This was an effort that was mystifying and troubling. I believe it’s a lack of confidence and nothing more sinister than that. This team needs a win in the worst way.