Red Wings’ Skid Continues with Collapse Against Wild

Pavel Datsyuk returned to the Red Wings lineup on Sunday night and scored a goal, but it wasn’t enough to hold off his team’s collapse against the Minnesota Wild in a 3-2 loss.

Datsyuk – who missed the Wings’ 5-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Friday – sniped a shot past Minnesota rookie goalie Darcy Keumper off a cross-ice backhand feed from Henrik Zetterberg just twenty seconds into the second period, giving the Red Wings a 2-0 lead.

A 4:10 span later in the period turned the tables, however, and the Red Wings never recovered.

At 9:35, Dany Heatley threw a shot through traffic that beat Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek after Mrazek while Mrazek was recovering from going down off an earlier chance.

Jason Zucker scored his first career NHL goal 3:38 later. After Jonathan Ericsson pinched in from the point in the Minnesota zone, Zucker blew past him, Valtteri Filppula and Mikael Samuelsson to have a clear lane down the right wing. He gained the Detroit zone untouched and snapped a shot past Mrazek to tie things up.

Just 32 seconds later, Torrey Mitchell knocked a loose puck past Mrazek off a faceoff in the Detroit zone.

Damien Brunner had opened the scoring at 8:48 of the first period when he deflected a Datsyuk chance past Kuemper.

Kuemper finished the night with 29 saves on 31 shots while Mrazek made 21 saves on 24 shots.

Postgame: Red Wings @ Wild – 2/17

I’ll admit, this team confuses me. It’d be one thing if the Wings just didn’t show up for whole games. That could be explained away a little easier. Tonight, though, Detroit showed up for the first period and did a decent job of establishing themselves. Got a couple goals (okay, Datsyuk’s was early in the second, but still), made some things happen, limited the chances for the Wild.

And then they just stopped. Which is what I don’t understand, because it looks like a conscious decision. How do you take a style of play that’s working and just stop doing it?

Yeah, Minnesota adapted a bit but it’s not like the Wild just suddenly found a weakness in the Wings’ plan and started exploiting it. The Wings took 14 shots in the first period and followed it up with 17 for the rest of the game. It’s like they collectively stopped trying.

Yeah, individual players had different levels of effort, I’m sure you could point to someone like Tomas Tatar and say he never stopped trying. But even if he’d been able to, it’s not a good sign when a guy has to carry the team on his back.

I just don’t get it and I’ve got no words to try to explain it.

Pregame: Red Wings @ Wild – 2/17

The Red Wings take their two-game losing streak to Minnesota tonight to face a Wild team that has also lost two-straight.

Pavel Datsyuk will be a game-time decision for Detroit. He missed Friday’s loss to the Anaheim Ducks with a shoulder injury but took the morning skate today. He’ll take pre-game warmups before determining if he can go tonight.

Mikael Samuelsson will make his first appearance in the Wings’ lineup since the second game of the season, returning from a groin injury. To make room for him, Gustav Nyquist was returned to the Grand Rapids Griffins.

On the blue line, Kent Huskins will swap back into the lineup in favor of Jakub Kindl.

Rookie Petr Mrazek gets the start in goal for Detroit. It will likely be his final start before returning to the Griffins, as Jonas Gustavsson is in Grand Rapids getting a rehab start in and seems ready to return from his groin injury.

Game time is 6:00 PM on FSD.