DETROIT – As the Detroit Red Wings head into their 12th game of the regular season tonight against the New York Rangers, they’re still in search of an identity.
“We have to play well,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said Saturday after the team’s morning skate at Joe Louis Arena. “It’s just like doing your job, you have to have a blue print to know what you’re doing and you have to have the energy to come in and do it each and every day. We haven’t established a blue print enough. We don’t have an identity or whatever you want to call it.”
After going 6-3-1 in their first 10-game segment, the Wings’ 11th game was one they’d soon like to forget, a 6-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators.
“Through 10 games, you’re 6-3-1 and you think you’re off to not a bad start and then game 11 comes along and you’re wondering what the heck you’re doing,” Babcock said. “We have to regroup here today, we have to play harder as a good and better as a group.”
The Wings have scored just 25 goals this season, an average of 2.3 per game.
But they’ve scored just three goals over their last three games, going 0-2-1 in the process.
Babcock shuffled up his top two lines to try and generate more offense, breaking up Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.
Datsyuk will center Todd Bertuzzi and Daniel Alfredsson, while Zetterberg will play between Johan Franzen and Tomas Tatar.
The bottom two lines remained the same.
The Rangers’ offense has been even worse. They’ve scored just 12 goals in eight game, an average of 1.50 per game.
“Like every team you’re playing you’re going to have your hands full,” Babcock said. “They’re like us, they don’t score any goals.”
Tonight’s game is the final of a nine-game road trip to begin the season for New York. The Rangers, who are 2-6-0, also played every preseason game on the road because Madison Square Garden was being renovated.
“I thought their D-zone look the same,” Babcock said. “When I look at the Rangers it’s a lot of carry over, lots of shot blocking, I really like 27 (Ryan McDonagh), 5 (Dan Girardi) and 18 (Marc Staal). I really thought they were fantastic the other night. (Derek) Stepan is obviously a real good player for them. (Brad) Richards seems to be getting it going again. (Dan) Boyle always impresses me, I think he’s done a real good job and gone to New York and become a real good player here in the league.”
Detroit has won six in a row at home against the Rangers and are 10-1-0 in the past 11 against New York at Joe Louis Arena
The Rangers have won only twice in Detroit, which is 17-2-3 over the last 22 games against New York, since 1986.
The Rangers’ last win in Detroit was on Jan. 30, 1999 (3-2).