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Detroit Red Wings hoping California road trip can prove to be tonic

by Staff

Detroit — Maybe going on the road for a week will be the right recipe for the Red Wings.

They’re hoping something works. Home or away. Because nothing much is really working.

The Wings begin a three-game road trip through California with a game Tuesday in San Jose. Games in Los Angeles (Thursday) and Anaheim (Sunday) conclude a trip the Wings are hopeful can change the direction in which this season is suddenly going.

“Going on the road will be good for us,” said defenseman Ben Chiarot, who scored a goal in Sunday’s 5-3 loss to Boston. “Get the team together and build momentum out in California.”

Sunday’s loss put the Wings 3-9-1 in their last 13 games. Once solidly in the playoff picture, the Wings now have a little work to do to climb back into a comfortable position. The Wings are only three points behind Tampa Bay (41-38), but there are also three teams in between Tampa and the Wings, and all three have played fewer games than the Wings.

Though losing to Boston, the Wings felt there were positives from which they can build. Mainly, the defensive mistakes that have been plaguing the Wings weren’t as prevalent against the Bruins.

“Hopefully we can build off this a little bit because our actual full process for 60 minutes was pretty good,” coach Derek Lalonde said.

One area the Wings need to improve upon is winning low-scoring games.

Sunday’s game was basically a 3-2 game, as the Bruins scored a pair of empty-net goals to inflate the final score. The Wings are now 0-16-1 this season when scoring four or less goals. They haven’t been able to show an ability to win those close, defensive-driven games that are the norm late in the season.

The Wings are still learning how to win those types of low-scoring games.

“That’s part of the maturation of a team, especially a young team, winning those tight games and knowing how to hold a lead,” Chiarot said. “Those are things we’re working on here and it takes time to know and be comfortable in that and knowing how to play those games.

“That’s something we’re still figuring it out.”

Though saying the Wings need to be better defensively, Lalonde believes the 0-16-1 statistic doesn’t fully explain the situation.

“That’s a misleading stat because we have two shutouts and a lot of those four-goal games we’ve given one or two or three goals,” Lalonde said. “It’s a misleading stat on the whole. Our defense needs to improve. A couple practices we had this week, we took a step in a good direction (Sunday).”

Ice chips

Defenseman Jake Walman tied his career-high with nine goals set last season. It took Walman 63 games last season to get those nine goals, but this season Walman needed only 34.

Walman has three goals and one assist in the last two games.

… The Red Wings have 26 goals from defensemen this season, trailing only Colorado (28) and Montréal (27) for the NHL lead. The Wings have 96 points from defensemen, trailing Colorado (103) and Vancouver (102) for the NHL lead.

“It’s great any time you can get offense from the back end it’s going to help you win a game,” Chiarot said. “But it wasn’t enough (Sunday), obviously. As defensemen we’re always looking to jump in and contribute and we have to keep doing that.”

... J.T. Compher has a three-game point streak and has 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) in the last 23 games.

Dylan Larkin has 14 points (eight goals, six assists) in the last 14 games. For the calendar year 2023, Larkin led the Wings with 78 points (32 goals, 46 assists) in 77 games.

Alex DeBrincat has a five-game point streak (eight assists, 10 points) and has 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in the last seven games.

Red Wings at Sharks

 Faceoff: 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, SAP Center, San Jose. California

 TV/radio: Bally Sports Detroit/97.1 FM

 Outlook: The Wings open a three-game road trip in San Jose. … The Sharks (9-25-3) defeated the Wings earlier this season overtime. … San Jose has the NHL’s worst record and is coming off a 3-1 loss Sunday in Colorado, which extended the Sharks’ losing streak to eight games. … C Tomas Hertl (28 points) leads offensively.

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