Win­less Wings anx­ious for elu­sive first vic­tory

DeKeyser ex­presses con­cern: ‘It starts to wear on you a bit’

The Detroit News - - Nhl - BY GREGG KRUPA The De­troit News

De­troit — The Red Wings hoped for a fast start, af­ter a pre­sea­son in which they lost their cap­tain and a key to their of­fense, Hen­rik Zet­ter­berg.

Wins might set­tle down a young team and es­tab­lish some clear per­for­mance lead­ers that play­ers could look to, as they used to look to Zet­ter­berg, for a boost.

But 0-2-2 and the sec­ond­worst goal dif­fer­en­tial in the NHL, at mi­nus-6, is not get­ting it done.

In their first two sea­sons out of the play­offs in 25 sea­sons, the Wings opened 2016-17 with a 6-2 record, and 2017-18 at 4-1.

Anx­i­ety about when the first win will come is mix­ing with the need to re­main pa­tient, as the

ros­ter de­vel­ops and blends.

“For us, it’s about get­ting off to a good start, with the lead, and then just tak­ing care of pucks,” said Danny DeKeyser, whose 23:45 time on ice per game leads Red Wings de­fense­men by 1:29 (Nik­las Kron­wall, 22:16; Den­nis Cholowski, 22:10).

“Ob­vi­ously, you want to get that first win as soon as you can. The longer it drags out, it starts to wear on you a lit­tle bit,” the 28year-old na­tive of Ma­comb Town­ship said.

“You’ve just got to make sure that doesn’t hap­pen, and that you stay dialed in men­tally, out there.”

Power out­age

Much of the work at a vig­or­ous prac­tice Fri­day con­cerned the power play.

The Wings stressed a be­hindthe-net set up, and sought to es­tab­lish the per­sis­tent net-front pres­ence, which was also topic of a video ses­sion.

“We’ve run some op­tions with it in the pre­sea­son,” coach Jeff Blashill said, of orig­i­nat­ing the power play at­tack from be­hind the net. It’s not some­thing you would do ex­clu­sively, but cer­tainly some op­tions on it.

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David Gu­ral­nick/De­troit News

Red Wings de­fense­man Danny DeKeyser, right, fights Maple Leafs for­ward Josh Leivo at Lit­tle Caesars Arena on Thurs­day.

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