Lapses sink Wings in loss

Team spots Chicago 2-goal lead en route to third de­feat in row

The Detroit News - - SPORTS - BY TED KULFAN The Detroit News

Chicago — These used to be epic bat­tles.

Not so much any­more, al­though the Chicago Black­hawks are look­ing as if they might have one more burst of play­off en­ergy left in them.

They won their sev­enth con­sec­u­tive game Sun­day, while send­ing the stum­bling Red Wings to their third straight loss, 5-2.

A poor start by the Wings, fall­ing be­hind 2-0 and it could have been worse if not for goal­tender Jonathan Bernier (31 saves), sunk the Wings.

“Bru­tal start, not nearly good enough,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “As the game went along, half­way in, we started play­ing with more jam and com­pet­i­tive­ness, like we have for the last month.

“But the start, to me men­tally, we weren’t ready to go. We gave up more odd-man rushes than we have in a long time. We can’t be a team that spots the other team two goals on the road.”

The ef­fort was there, if not the in­stincts and just plain smart plays.

“It was just our heads,” for­ward Gus­tav Nyquist said. “We know what to do out there but for some rea­son, just small lit­tle things out there, we have to be bet­ter.”

Christof­fer Ehn and Nyquist scored for the Wings, who again had too many stretches of in­ef­fec­tive hockey and not cap­i­tal­iz­ing on of­fen­sive chances.

Chicago goal­tender Cam Ward made 43 saves, so he was a crit­i­cal part of the loss for the Wings, as well.

“They’re play­ing good hockey,” Blashill said. “But every­body in this league plays good hockey. They’ve cer­tainly been hot. But the men­tal de­ci­sions we made were no good.”

Do­minik Kahun had two goals, and Dy­lan Strome, Pa­trick Kane and Jonathan Toews had the other goals for the Black­hawks.

The Wings (21-28-7) close this three-game

Nashville.

Trail­ing 3-1, the Wings had a power-play op­por­tu­nity with just over eight min­utes left af­ter a Toews hook­ing penalty, but were un­able to cap­i­tal­ize.

But Nyquist scored his 14th at 15:30, pa­tiently hold­ing onto the puck near the cir­cle un­til fi­nally get­ting Ward down and plac­ing his 14th goal up high.

Nyquist’s goal spurred the Wings, who had an­other fine scor­ing op­por­tu­nity by An­thony Man­tha in the slot that went wide.

Sec­onds later, though, Toews found a streak­ing Kane down the wing, and the still-dan­ger­ous Kane blis­tered his 33rd goal past Bernier at 16:27 to re­store the two-goal lead, 4-2.

“We were com­ing there,” Nyquist said. “But you can’t start the game like that, like we did in the first. Bernie kept us in that game from the start.

“I don’t know why our heads weren’t into it. We made men­tal mis­takes and it cost us in the end.”

Toews then scored an emp­tynet goal at 17:59 to make it 5-2, his 25th goal.

trip

Tues­day

in

Kahun re­stored a two-goal Chicago lead with his se­cond goal, and 11th of the sea­son, at 7:45 of the third pe­riod.

Strome found Kahun skat­ing alone through the mid­dle of the ice, and Kahun slipped the puck through Bernier.

“You can’t give up that many out­num­bered rushes,” Blashill said. “Bernie was great. It was in­ex­cus­able.

“Not close enough to be good enough.”

The Wings had few op­por­tu­ni­ties on Ward early, and didn’t crack the score­board un­til late in the se­cond pe­riod.

Ehn picked up a loose puck af­ter Danny DeKeyser forced Kane into a turnover along the boards.

Ehn raced up wing, then un­leashed a wicked shot from the dot that beat Ward high for Ehn’s se­cond goal.

“It was real good job by DeKeyser step­ping up at the line and forc­ing the turnover,” Ehn said. “I hap­pened to be at the right spot. I was just try­ing to get it up and it hit stick.”

Chicago took a 2-0 lead af­ter the open­ing 20 min­utes.

Kahun opened the scor­ing at 11:04 of the first pe­riod, con­vert­ing on a 3-on-1 rush for his 10th goal.

Kahun shot the puck, which re­bounded off the leg of DeKeyser, and he put the puck past Bernier, who had shifted too far to the op­po­site side.

Strome put Chicago ahead 2-0 at 18:03, and it was the Kahun line again that in­sti­gated the dam­age.

Kahun gath­ered the puck around the blue line and sped around Nik­las Kron­wall, then cen­tered the pass to Strome driv­ing to the net.

Strome bat­ted the puck past Bernier, for his 14th goal.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Im­ages

Chicago for­ward Pa­trick Kane cel­e­brates scor­ing a third-pe­riod goal in Sun­day’s 5-2 win over Detroit.

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