After winning the Presidents Trophy last year, the Detroit Red Wings are struggling in the opening weeks this season.
The Red Wings look to avoid losing their fourth straight game Wednesday when they host the San Jose Sharks at Joe Louis Arena.
Detroit (3-4-1) lost to Edmonton 3-1 on Saturday, its third straight defeat and fourth in the last five. The Red Wings have been outscored 12-3 during their losing skid, mustering just one goal in each of those games.
“The frustration level is high,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “The one thing about frustration though is it does you absolutely no good. We have to find a way to dig in and stick together and to solve our problems.
“In our last three games we have scored three goals and you can’t win in the National Hockey League getting three goals in three games.”
Hasek has not been in net for all the games during the losing streak, but he has lost his last three starts. The six-time Vezina Trophy winner is 2-3 with a 2.32 goals-against average and has not lost four straight starts since Jan. 20-31, 2001.
Hasek was not in goal in Detroit’s 5-1 loss to the Sharks (7-2-0) last Thursday, and has only faced them once since the 2001-02 season. He is 7-3 with three ties lifetime against San Jose, and is 3-1 with a tie and 1.76 GAA in his last five starts against them.
The Red Wings allowed five power-play goals in their loss to the Sharks last week, and have allowed opponents’ to convert 22.2 percent (12-of-54) of their opportunities.
Detroit, which has not lost four consecutive games in regulation since a five-game skid Dec. 18-26, 1998, is also one of the worst teams in the league with the man advantage. The Red Wings went 0-for-5 Saturday and have converted just 8.7 percent (4-for-46) of their power-play opportunities this season.
Nicklas Lidstrom leads the Red Wings with seven points, but is scoreless in his last three games. The four-time Norris Trophy winner never went more than consecutive games without a point last season as he finished with 80 points, and has not gone four straight games without a point since March 13-18, 2004.
While Detroit has been in a funk, San Jose has been surging.
The Sharks are off to their best start since also opening the 1999-2000 season at 7-2. They have never won eight of their first 10 games in their 15-season history.
Goalie Vesa Toskala won his 12th straight game Monday, a 3-0 victory over Columbus.
“We played good team defense all the way around,” defenseman Scott Hannan said. “When we needed him, Ves was there to stop it.”
Despite Toskala’s impressive run, it is doubtful he will be in goal against the Red Wings.
Sharks coach Ron Wilson has alternated goaltenders every game this season, and Evgeni Nabokov is due up next. He is 2-2 with a 2.52 GAA, and allowed a season-high six goals in his only road start of the season, a 6-4 loss Oct. 12 at Edmonton.
Nabokov went 0-2-1 with a 4.60 GAA last season against Detroit, and is 4-9-1 with a 3.33 GAA lifetime against the Wings.
Patrick Marleau leads the Sharks with 11 points, and had two goals in last week’s win. He has three goals and four assists in his last five games against Detroit.