DETROIT >> Three games into the 2014-15 NHL season and we’ve already seen how good the Wings can play and how bad they can play.
In Wednesday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Boston Bruins, it all started with faceoffs and went downhill from there.
“With four minutes left in the first we had won two faceoffs,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said after practice Thursday at University Liggett. “They win the faceoff, they get it in, they get on top of you, so they’re on top of you hard, you don’t execute right away, spend too much time in your zone, by the time you get it out of your zone and in their zone you change, they get a free breakout, they come down, they put it in, they grind the crap out of you again, it’s just a sequence of events that never, ever changes. All night long, they won the races, they won the battles.”
That was a far cry from how the first meeting with the Bruins went this season that the Wings won 2-1. However, Boston had played the night before.
“If you win battles, you’re on them quicker,” Babcock said. “It’s interesting in hockey we always want to fix everything structurally. Two kids on the carpet, one ball, one kid has it. It’s that simple. They wanted it more, they had it more. They were engaged.”
Babcock went back and looked at his team’s week of preparation. After a day off Sunday, they practiced hard Monday, had a good tempo 35-mintue practice Tuesday and then had a short pre-game skate Wednesday.
Boston came in after losing with less than a second on the clock Monday, had a 90-minute practice Tuesday and went hard in the pre-game skate.
“They’re fresher and got better jump,” Babcock said. “How can that possibly be? It’s called mental.”
Babcock admitted he felt his team has played well in two of the first three games.
“I don’t think there’s anything to fix,” said Babcock, whose squad takes a 1-1-1 record into Friday’s game at Toronto. “We deserve to be exactly where we are.
“I’m pumped,” Babcock continued. “I think we’ve got a team that has a chance to get better. I like where we’re at. We just played Boston twice and Anaheim. You guys all think they’re good. That’s what I read anyway. I like that we’ve played good teams and we’re off to a decent start.”