Blackhawks capitalize on power play, defeat Red Wings 2-0

By Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News/TNS

Detroit - Not surprisingly, the Red Wings weren’t very good on the power play Wednesday against Chicago.

And, not surprisingly, it cost them another game.

Chicago’s Philipp Kurashev scored a beautiful power play in the second period and goaltender Kevin Lankinen stopped 29 Wings shots Wednesday as Chicago held on for a 2-0 victory, sweeping the two-game series.

The Wings swarmed Lankinen in the third period, but the rookie goaltender was sharp and poised in net.

Alex DeBrincat (Farmington) scored an empty net goal with 57.5 seconds left in regulation time, icing the Chicago (9-5-4) victory, DeBrincat's ninth goal.

The Wings (4-11-3) didn’t capitalize on three power play attempts, continuing a recent dry spell that's been mind-boggling.

The numbers are pretty incredible. The Wings are 4-for-56 on the power play this season, and they haven’t scored a power play goal in 10 games, since January 28 in Dallas.

They’re 0-for-29 in that span on the power play.

“That’s been a continued sore spot,” said coach Jeff Blashill after Monday's loss but it fit Wednesday's narrative as well. “We have nights where it looks not bad and then we go backwards. We’ve used lots of different guys in different situations, given a lot of different people opportunities and not enough people have grabbed it.

“Ultimately guys have to execute better."

The Wings did have an effective power play midway in the second period - Filip Zadina had a pair of good looks - but didn't convert.

The Wings had another power play with 9:06 left in the third period, and Dylan Larkin and Zadina both had decent scoring chances against Lankinen, but the rookie netminder stood tall.

Chicago didn’t have a problem scoring with the man advantage on Kurashev’s goal.

The Chicago rookie took an outlet pass from Duncan Keith, skated through and around the four Wings’ penalty killers, and tucked the puck through the legs of goaltender Jonathan Bernier.

The only reason the Wings stayed as close as they did was because of Bernier, who stopped 24 shots but was sharp throughout the evening, frustrating the Blackhawks on numerous opportunities.

Lankinen recorded his third consecutive victory over the Wings this season, as the Blackhawks continue to defy many analysts who felt this would be a major rebuilding season.