Detroit Red Wings’ Penalty Kill In Massive Slump

Detroit Red Wings' Penalty Kill In Massive Slump

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  • The Detroit Red Wings are trying to address their slumping penalty kill, which has allowed 12 goals in nine straight games through Saturday, March 14.

The Detroit Red Wings are trying to address their slumping penalty kill, which has allowed 12 goals in nine straight games through Saturday, March 14.

The Detroit Red Wings’ recent penalty kill leaves much to be desired.

According to Bill Roose of the Red Wings’ official website, the team’s penalty kill has allowed goals in nine straight games through March 15. The last time The Red Wings allowed this many was four years ago. It’s also been almost 10 years since the team allowed power-play goals in 10 consecutive games. 

To be more precise, The Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James says the Red Wings allowed 12 power play goals in their last nine games. Their power play has surrendered 18 goals in the last 24 games. 

Roose also adds Detroit has gone 23-of-35 in this area for a 65.7 percent penalty-kill percentage. What’s more is the Red Wings were once the top-rated penalty-killing team in the NHL. Now, they have plummeted to 20th overall.

At one point, the Red Wings even went 21-for-21 in their power-play kills during an early seven-game winning streak, per St. James. 

Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock describes his team’s current situation as “fragile,” per Roose:

“You look at our penalty kill it was the best in the National Hockey League. We were a machine on the kill and we were jumping over the boards knowing we were gonna kill it. Suddenly now…we were as passive as any group I’ve ever seen in my life yesterday. We’re more fragile right now.

“We went for 64 games and never lost back to back. Just cruising along, life is good. I think in pro sports sometimes you get called out and you have to dig in. We’ve geen called out. We got to dig in.

“Things I knew before, not matter what happened we played with great structure, we competed and kept coming. In the last five games, can you say any of that? None of it. So who are we? Are we the team that played 64 times or the team that played these last five? I like the 64 times.”

Roose alsow interviewed Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who offered his own take on the matter. “It’s too much standing around, looking, not really trusting each other,” Kronwall said. “We’ve got to get back to what were doing in the beginning of the year, playing more aggressive and trusting in each other.”

St. James stresses one of the factors why Detroit’s power play has been sluggish is because of the absence of Darren Helm, who has a strained oblique. However,”one absent player should not make that much of a difference,” she goes on to say.

The Red Wings hit a new low when an average Philadelphia Flyers team routed them, 7-2, on March 14. It was the first time Detroit gave up seven goals in two years. The last time this happened was on March 31, 2013 when the Chicago Blackhawks beat them, 7-1, per Roose. 

Team captain Henrik Zetterberg told Roose the loss to Philadelphia on Saturday was “rock bottom”:

“Disappointing. That’s a good word. It’s too many games now where the opposing team is faster, stronger from the start. We’ve talked about it. We’ve addressed it after games but you can’t just talk about it. You’ve got to go out and show it. Enough is enough.

“You’ve got to hit rock bottom before you can turn it around. Hopefully we did that.”

Veteran 38-year-old defenseman Marek Zidlicky tallied three points the night after in a 5-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center, per Roose. He is the second defenseman to produce that many points this season. Niklas Kronwall recorded two goals and an assist against the same Penguins team on Oct. 23. 

Roose says the Red Wings “played with much more intensity and urgency” than their five-goal loss to the Flyers on Saturday. Detroit scored just 81 seconds into the game against the Penguins on a tip courtesy of Riley Sheahan. Zetterberg even ended a 15-game scoring drought by giving the Red Wings a 4-0 lead in the second period. 

With the win, Detroit upped its record to 38-19-11 for 87 points and third overall in the Atlantic Division behind the Montreal Canadiens (43-19-7) and Tampa Bay Lightning (42-21-7). 

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