The Detroit Red Wings are playing like they can't wait for the season to end. If that keeps up, the next five weeks will seem like an eternity.
They have lost eight of their last nine games, including four straight, and their most recent defeat was embarrassing. They were blown out at home Thursday night by the Minnesota Wild, 7-1, while giving up six goals in the first two periods.
Detroit will try to be more competitive when it travels over the border to face the Ottawa Senators on Saturday.
"Sometimes it's like we can't stop the leak. One turns into two and two turns into three. At the end of the night, it's not pretty again," forward Luke Glendening told NHL.com. "Back to work tomorrow. No one's gonna feel sorry for us, that's for sure. We're paid to play this game. It's a game we love to play but we gotta go out and put out a better performance than that."
What baffled first-line center Dylan Larkin is that the Red Wings looked sharp the previous day. He saw a team ready to end its latest losing streak.
"We had a great practice yesterday," Larkin told NHL.com. "We worked extremely hard. We were competitive, battling each other. We had a good feeling after that practice, and then we just didn't show up (Thursday)."
Not only do the Wings have the worst record in the league by a wide margin, their goal differential is mind-boggling. They're at minus-119. The closest team to them is the Senators, who stood at minus-47 heading into Friday's action.
"That's on guys that have been around," Larkin said. "We've got to make sure our team's ready to go. We can't give them easy chances. We work so hard for our chances. We have to make them work twice as hard for theirs."
Ryan was playing his first game in Ottawa since entering the league's assistance program in November. Ryan sought treatment for alcoholism.
He was greeted warmly by the home crowd and the cheers got even louder with each goal.
"It just got harder to kind of keep the emotions down throughout the game," Ryan told NHL.com. "It was incredible. They supported me and, I guess, to contribute, you can't write that, right? The way that went, it was just an incredible evening."
The 32-year-old wing had scored one goal in 17 games prior to his big night. He scored 15 goals in 78 games last season.
Ryan's last hat trick came against the Buffalo Sabres in December 2014.
"It's been a long time since I've done that," Ryan said. "I don't know what I was expecting (Thursday). I was just kind of hoping to take a step forward within my individual game."
The teams are wrapping up their four-game season series. Ottawa won the first two meetings by scores of 5-2 and 4-3.
In the most recent matchup, the Wings won in a shootout, 3-2, on Jan. 10. Larkin scored the only goal during the shootout after converting on a power play during regulation.
--Field Level Media