One Is The Unluckiest Number
In 1969, the band Three Dog Night hit the Billboard top 10 by proclaiming One Is The Loneliest Number in song.
For the 2017-18 version of the Detroit Red Wings, one is proving to be the unluckiest number. Twenty-nine times this season, the Wings have been involved in a one-goal outcome. On 20 occasions, they’ve come out on the wrong end of that equation.
“I think we’re right up there for most in the league,” goaltender Jimmy Howard assessed to Detroitredwings.com of their one-goal losses, and he’d be right.
Only the Ottawa Senators (21) and Buffalo Sabres (21), like the Wings tenants of the Atlantic Division, have dropped more one-goal games this season. Detroit’s 10 regulation one-goal losses are tied for third-most in the league, and their 10 overtime or shootout failures leave them tied for the sixth most in that department.
“I think we’re all frustrated by the way it’s unfolding,” Howard said. “We’ve got to find a way to win games, not lose them.”
Detroit’s last five losses and eight of the Wings’ last nine setbacks were all one-goal verdicts.
“We’ve been in tons of tight games and haven’t won enough of them, so we sit where we sit,” said Detroit coach Jeff Blashill, whose team entered Sunday night’s game at Minnesota against the Wild sitting seven points out of a playoff spot with 18 games to play.
Looking to shake out of their good but not quite good enough performances, Blashill shuffled his line combinations for Sunday.
Tyler Bertuzzi was with Henrik Zetterberg and Gus Nyquist, while Dylan Larkin combined with Anthony Mantha and Justin Abdelkader. Andreas Athanasiou, Frans Nielsen and Darren Helm formed a unit, as did David Booth, Luke Glendening and Luke Witkowski, leaving Martin Frk as the odd man out.
“I think that looking at how the lines are set up, we have net front guys on each line that go to the net,” Abdelkader said. “We’ve got to continue to get pucks around the nets and make it hard on the goalie.”
Jonathan Ericsson will return to the Detroit defense following a one-game absence due to illness.
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