Cruising toward a fifth straight victory and playing without team scoring leaders Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, the Detroit Red Wings turned in a disturbing third period that left them questioning themselves.
They'll try to make the loss into an aberration when they visit the struggling New Jersey Devils on Friday night.
Detroit (14-8-7) led 3-1 midway through the second period and 3-2 after 40 minutes Wednesday against Philadelphia, but surrendered four goals - two on the power play - in the third en route to a 6-3 loss.
The Red Wings have killed off 84.5 percent of opponents' power plays on the season and had denied all 10 over the previous four games, but allowed the Flyers to go 3 for 3. Detroit had given up four total goals during its four-game win streak.
The Wings were 1 for 7 on the power play and have gone 1 for 10 in the last three contests.
"Yeah, on the power play we have to simplify and get shots on net," forward Justin Abdelkader told the team's official website. "If we're not going to score just gain some momentum for us. And our (penalty killing) has to be better than three goals there.
" ... Especially with the guys we have out now our specialty teams have to be really good and we have to protect those 3-1 leads."
Datsyuk (12 goals, 11 assists) missed his fifth game with a concussion and Zetterberg (11, 19) sat out his first because of a herniated disc in his back. Zetterberg is expected to miss at least two weeks.
In their absence, Tomas Tatar scored twice and Johan Franzen added a goal. The absence of the two versatile star forwards may have shown up in the final 20 minutes, however, as the Wings weren't able to match the Flyers' level of play.
"We stopped playing and we stopped skating," Tatar told the team's official website after also losing three teeth to a Nicklas Grossman high stick during the second period.
The Wings will look to rebound at New Jersey, where they're 2-0-1 in the past three but haven't visited in three years. Detroit was 6-0-1 in the previous seven overall matchups before falling 2-1 to the Devils at home in the most recent meeting April 5, 2012.
The Wings have won three in a row on the road and are 6-1-1 in the past seven to give them a 9-3-1 mark away from Joe Louis Arena.
New Jersey (11-12-6) has hardly been dominant at home, losing three of four and going 5-4-3 on the season. The Devils fell 4-3 in a shootout to visiting Montreal on Wednesday for their second straight loss overall and fifth in seven games.
New Jersey allowed the tying goal with 37 seconds left in regulation in falling to 0-5 in shootouts. It had missed 20 straight chances in the tiebreaker before Reid Boucher scored.
''I just heard a couple minutes ago (that his shootout goal snapped a drought),'' Boucher said. ''We had the lead and it was unfortunate they scored that goal at the end."
Michael Ryder had a goal and an assist for the Devils and has scored in two straight contests. He has a pair of two-goal games against Detroit, the most recent coming Jan. 22 in a 2-1 victory for Dallas at Joe Louis Arena.
Franzen has three goals and five assists during a five-game point streak, while Daniel Alfredsson has recorded four goals and five assists in his past six.
- Sports & Recreation
- Ice Hockey
- Detroit Red Wings
- Henrik Zetterberg
- New Jersey Devils
- Pavel Datsyuk