Red Wings' man advantage still powerless in road games
Johan Franzen laughed and shook his head, at a loss for words as the Red Wings are for goals on their power play on the road.
They went 0-for-3 with the man advantage in Saturday's 3-0 loss to the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena, stymied as they have been all season as they dropped to 0-for-36 on power plays in road games.
"It's got to be better," Franzen said. "That's all I have to say, really. It's bad. It's got to be better."
Franzen wasn't the only Wing hard-pressed to explain the problem. Henrik Zetterberg said: "The power play is a big issue. If we get one there, get momentum, it's a different game. I don't even know what to say anymore."
Retrievals are an issue; opponents keep getting to pucks first after they've been shot in from the point, and all it takes is one good clearing pass to eat 15-20 seconds off the clock.
"The first shot is usually blocked because they are inside," Franzen said. "Usually when you retrieve, that's when you suck them out a little bit, and that's when you get good opportunities."
Lately, the units down low have been Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk with Daniel Cleary as the net-front guy, and Franzen and Tomas Tatar with Justin Abdelkader as the net-front guy. Niklas Kronwall, Damien Brunner, Brendan Smith and Kyle Quincey have been the point men during the last stretch, with Smith replacing Ian White.
Coach Mike Babcock changed the personnel Saturday, at one point using Abdelkader with Datsyuk's group, but it didn't make a difference.
"The big people, the net-front guy on your power play, has to get pucks back or help get pucks back," Babcock said. "They need work ethic, and a commitment to shooting, and getting it back. We don't get it back. You can have all the skill in the world you want, you're never going to score on the power play unless you work hard enough to get pucks back. We're not doing that. We've got to fix it."
Babcock doesn't have a lot of options right now, not with Valtteri Filppula, Mikael Samuelsson and Todd Bertuzzi sidelined by injuries. Babcock said that shouldn't be an issue, saying: "We've got lots of people. We'll get it figured out."