DETROIT — Call it nerves, call it excitement, call it panic, call it whatever you want. Red Wings coach Mike Babcock took responsibility for his team’s ineffective and scattered play Tuesday night, which resulted in a 3-0 loss to the Bruins at Joe Louis Arena.
After winning Game 1 on the road, the Red Wings dropped Game 2, getting completely manhandled by Boston.
The Red Wings vowed to make Game 3 a statement game. The statement turned out to be, “We don’t know how to put enough pressure on Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask.’’
“I thought our kids looked like kids tonight for sure,’’ said Babcock. “It was almost like the energy in the building, the excitement or whatever, we didn’t handle that very good. We fumbled the puck around. I didn’t think we got going at all until 32 minutes into the game.’’
Babcock said he should’ve done a better job putting his finger on the pulse of his team.
“I’m a veteran coach, I’ve been around a long time,’’ he said. “Maybe I should’ve known we’d be like that at home. I know I was excited to start on the road. I thought it’d be good for a young team to start on the road and you wouldn’t get all wound up. I had no idea that we’d start like we did tonight.’’
The Red Wings’ veterans aren’t contributing enough to make things happen offensively, either.
“Let’s be honest, [the Bruins] did a good job,’’ said Babcock. “They tracked hard, they pushed us outside. I thought we had better entries on our power play and it looked like opportunities, but even then, I thought we were out on the outside on the power play, too. We had a guy at the net but you need more than a guy at the net. You need a guy in the middle and two guys coming in on the sides and I didn’t think we had that.’’
Veteran right wing Daniel Alfredsson was sidelined by an upper-body injury, believed to be a recurring back ailment, and was replaced in the lineup by Joakim Andersson.
“Alfie needed another day,’’ said Babcock. “So Andersson can really help our penalty kill. We thought our penalty kill was average the last game. He’s a good faceoff guy, he’s a big body who knows how to play. I don’t know if he’s going to play the whole game with [Darren] Helm and [Tomas] Jurco or we’ll move [David] Legwand there and maybe play [Andersson] with [Luke Glendening and Drew Miller]. We’ll just see as it goes.’’
One area Detroit has been disappointed in is special teams at large. The Wings are 0 for 9 on the power play and they have killed off just four of eight power plays. Babcock said before the game that his team needs to put the past behind it and move forward with a new attitude.
“Let’s get some swagger back, let’s get going, let’s enter and let’s attack but why not win a faceoff and get going,’’ he said. “I don’t know which part it is and you never really know in sports, was it them or us? We thought we were bad at it, so let’s split the difference.’’
Gustav Nyquist, the former University of Maine standout, had 48 points (28 goals) in 57 games during the regular season. He, like many of his teammates, hasn’t been able to find much room to maneuver and has no points in the first two playoff contests.
“It’s not even scoring, you’ve got to compete, you’ve got to get playing,’’ said Babcock. “Any time you’ve been through it, and now suddenly instead of being the guy no one has even heard of, like last year in the playoffs, you’re a guy they’ve heard of and space is probably a little hard to come by and you’ve got to find your game. [Nyquist] always seems to find his game.’’
Nyquist, 24, said he knew he was going to have to adjust what to combat the tougher conditions.
“There’s a lot of emotions during the playoffs, obviously,’’ said Nyquist.Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.