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Red Wings frustrated heading into All-Star, bye week break

Posted: 5:20 PM, Jan 22, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-23 07:58:41-05
Reaction to Red Wings' Thomas Vanek trade

"WE WERE OK, but OK doesn't get the job done again — (AP) - The Detroit Red Wings will have nine days off to get away from the frustration that has built up this season. First, they will try to give themselves a little boost when they play at Edmonton on Tuesday.

The Wings will be playing their final game prior to the All-Star break and it can't come soon enough for a team enduring one of their worst seasons in decades. Detroit (18-25-7) has won just four of its last 19 games.

The Red Wings came up empty on the first two games of their current three-game trip. They fell 6-4 to Calgary on Friday and allowed two third-period goals in a 3-2 defeat at Vancouver on Sunday.

"We were OK, but OK doesn't get the job done again," wing Thomas Vanek said on NHL.com.

"It's just very frustrating right now when you play good hockey, played good in Calgary for the most part, played really good (Sunday) again, and the result isn't there. ... It's tough right now, but hopefully those bounces will come our way soon."

Ineffectiveness on man-advantages has been a major issue throughout the season. The Wings ranked 25th in the league in power play percentage at 16.5 through Sunday's games. They went 0-for-3 on the power play in Vancouver.

"We've got to score on the power play," coach Jeff Blashill told NHL.com.

"That's an area where, to be up a little bit more, one area is the power play. I think the power plays were fine (on Sunday). It wasn't a process standpoint, but you got to score. Our guys are in those spots because they're guys we think can score and are offensive and they got to find a way to score."

On a team without a lot of firepower, the Wings can't afford to rely on even-strength situations.

"Specialty teams, each and every night, they're huge," wing Justin Abdelkader said. "If you win the specialty teams battle, a lot of nights you can win the game."

Edmonton won the first meeting in Detroit 4-3 on Nov. 3 behind two Kyle Brodziak goals.

The Oilers (23-23-3) have dropped to the .500 mark by losing their last two games, both at home. They fell 5-2 to Calgary on Saturday and 7-4 to Carolina on Sunday.

Edmonton gave up six goals in the first two periods. The lone bright spot was Leon Draisaitl, who scored twice, including his 100th career goal.

"It's frustrating," Draisaitl told the team's website. "We take two steps ahead, and then two steps back. one ahead, one back. Go up, go down ... we got to figure it out."

Coach Ken Hitchcock vowed to make changes afterward, particularly on the back line.

"We got two experienced defensemen and it's their turn to play; that's (Kevin) Gravel and (Alexander) Petrovic," Hitchcock said.

"They got to play. That's number one. Number two, we have to get ourselves more organized in our transition game ... our transition game is so slow right now and so deliberate that we just get covered over."