The Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Sharks got off to bad starts in 2022. One team will collect its first victory of the New Year when the Wings and Sharks meet in Detroit on Tuesday night.
The Red Wings allowed three third-period goals while dropping a 5-1 decision to the visiting Boston Bruins on Sunday afternoon. The Sharks gave up six first-period goals in an 8-5 road loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Detroit has lost two home games since four COVID-related postponements, scoring just one goal in each loss.
“We just didn’t execute — we didn’t even get shots,” center Dylan Larkin said. “We have to bring more to the game than we did (Sunday).”
Power-play execution has been a major issue in the losses. The Wings have come up empty in seven man-advantage situations, including four against the Bruins.
“I think we’re forcing too much right now, and you can’t do that,” Larkin said. “Every defenseman in the league has a good stick, and they are going to break up plays when you try to force things.”
Coach Jeff Blashill said the power play has to improve in order for Detroit to have a winning season. His club dropped to the .500 mark with the latest loss.
“We’ve got to find a way to score on the power play or at least build some momentum off it,” he said.
Another alarming development was the way the Bruins pushed the Red Wings around. Detroit scored the first goal but didn’t respond well when the Bruins got more physical.
“The Bruins are a team that wants to bully you, and we have to push back harder instead of letting them do it like they did (Sunday),” Blashill said. “They came in here with more urgency and a higher compete level than we did.”
The Sharks had won their previous two games before the Penguins — who hadn’t played in two weeks — blitzed them.
“We couldn’t stop it,” Sharks coach Bob Boughner said of the early barrage. “We tried to call a timeout. We tried switching things up. It was ugly.”
Boughner’s club showed some fight by slicing the deficit to one goal early in the third period but couldn’t finish the comeback.
“If you would’ve told us that it would be a one-goal game with 2 1/2, three minutes left in the third, I don’t think anyone would believe you,”
defenseman Erik Karlsson said. “But I think once that first period was over with, we just kept a short memory and we tried to do everything we could to establish our game moving forward.”
San Jose’s defense needs to tighten in order for the team to be a playoff participant this spring. The Sharks have allowed 22 goals in the past four games.
Goaltender Zach Sawchenko made his NHL debut Sunday, as he replaced James Reimer after the first period. He was credited with 20 saves.
“Obviously, it wasn’t how you draw it up,” Sawchenko said. “I understood the situation we were in. I was trying to give the team a spark. Luckily enough, we made a comeback and just fell a little short there.”
Detroit will visit San Jose on Jan. 11 to complete the two-game season series.
–Field Level Media