The results haven’t changed, but Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill is convinced that the performance of his team is on a steady incline upward.
The Wings begin a two-game road trip Friday against the Winnipeg Jets after a disappointing 1-3-1 homestand, fully aware that their rapidly-shrinking playoff hopes might be done before the current U.S. government shutdown ends.
“I went through the last three five-game segments with our players and if you look, the records are identical,” Blashill told Mlive.com. “They’re 1-3-1 in all three of those segments but if you look at process, three segments ago wasn’t good at all and we’ve got better to the point that we’ve had more chances than the opponent, more Grade As than the opponent during this last five-game segment.
“We out-zone timed the opponent these last five games this last five-game segment. If you do that again, you’re gonna get results. You just will. That’s the way it works over long periods of time.
“We did that against teams, three of which are favorites to be in the Stanley Cup mix for sure and two teams that are in the playoff mix right now.”
What is also abundantly true is that during that 15-game stretch, the Wings went 1-7 in one-goal games. And overall, they are 2-9-3 in their last 14 games.
“We haven’t found ways to win, but in saying that we just have to stick with it and keep grinding,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “Everything starts with hard work and trying to do it right every day.
“We’re gonna get out of this and we’re the only ones who are going to do it. No one else is going to tell us anything different. It’s about the 20-some guys in here that’s gonna go to work and get it done.”
Let’s Play Two
Defenseman Mike Green, who will return to the lineup Friday after missing 13 games due an ankle injury, is opting to channel his inner Ernie Banks and insists that that he also play in Saturday’s game at Minnesota against the Wild.
“We’ll see how (tonight) goes and hopefully nothing happens,” Green said. “I feel good enough to play.”
Blashill indicated that he wouldn’t be suiting up Green for Friday’s game against the Jets if he didn’t feel confident that he’s also be able to answer the bell on Saturday.
“He wouldn’t be in Friday if it wasn’t for the opportunity to potentially play back to back,” Blashill confirmed. “I would have waited until Saturday if I wanted to make sure that didn’t happen. Playing him Friday we feel, after talking to our training staff and taking to Mike, that he could potentially be ready for that.
“That will all depend on how he feels Saturday morning.”
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