Wings look to rebound after giving up way too many ‘freebies’ in opening loss

A day after being blanked for just the third time in franchise history in a season opener, the sour taste was still there for the Detroit Red Wings.

“We were terrible,” Niklas Kronwall told reporters after practice in Columbus Sunday afternoon. “A lot of things were really bad. Doesn’t matter what you do structurally when you’re not there. We were a step behind all game.”

“You have to work, it’s as simple as that,” said goalie Jimmy Howard, who was pulled after allowing five goals on 28 shots in a little over two periods of work. “We got out-worked in every aspect of the game.”

Three of the Blues’ six goals were scored on breakaways.

“Well, I guess what I would say is we weren’t very good,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “So you can go through it and pick on all the individuals that we want. I felt that we gifted them four goals, and absolutely gifted them. I’m not saying that they didn’t forecheck hard and do good things, but you can’t give away freebies.

“I’ve said it many times, you can’t outscore your defensive mistakes,” Babcock continued. “We had way too many. The tempo off our bench was too slow, especially for our first game, our shifts were too long. We got caught out there. When we were playing defense it took too long to get out of our zone, so we want to stay longer on offense. I mean, we were no good.”

Detroit allowed four power play goals on five chances. The Wings were 0-for-4 with the man advantage.

“If I go through PK goals, rush goal, long pass, no two long passes, no one long pass,” Babcock said. “What were the PK goals? I should remember I only saw them nine times. Three of them were freebies.”

St. Louis also scored short-handed.

“That’s not penalty killing,” Babcock said. “It’s crazy. How do they make that play past you? That’s the hard part for me. Even the first goal of the game. The same thing. Even the short-handed goal. I mean the guys skates by two of our guys watching the puck. Those are bad goals.”

Defenseman Kyle Quincey got burned by St. Louis rookie Vladimir Tarasenko for two of the breakaway goals.
“We have to find a way to play a lot better than that,” Kronwall said. “Compete harder. Just play harder. I think everyone in here is pretty ashamed of their effort. We have to be a lot better than that.”

Along with being shutout Saturday, the Wings were also blanked in season openers Nov. 15, 1928 (New York Rangers at Olympia Stadium) and Nov. 18, 1926 (Boston Bruins at Windsor Arena).


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