DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings have segued from sputter to straight-out stall.
The latest blight was a listless 5-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks tonight at Joe Louis Arena, dropping the Wings to 5-9-6 at home. The Wings are 0-4-2 in their last six games, which have seen them score just seven times. They're 1-5-2 since losing captain Henrik Zetterberg to a herniated disc at the start of the month.
Zetterberg is one of eight regulars injured, a group that includes other top-six forwards Johan Franzen and Gustav Nyquist, basically reducing the Wings to one scoring line. It was newcomer Tomas Jurco who got the first goal, showing off impressive skills in the first period in what was the only blip of brightness. Daniel Cleary scored with 2 minutes to go.
The Wings had yet another fresh face in the lineup as Riley Sheahan made his season debut. Nyquist was a surprise morning scratch, bringing the number of injured Wings to eight.
Newcomer Tomas Jurco wrote a nice opening line when he scored his debut NHL goal 3 minutes into the first period, collecting a wobbly puck in-stride and deking to his backhand for a 1-0 lead. The Wings had barely lowered their high-fives before Jakob Silfverberg leveled that lead.
From there it got worse every couple of minutes. There was Nick Bonino connecting on a behind-the-net setup by Daniel Winnik, despite what probably should have been a goaltender interference call. Then there was Corey Perry firing from clear range, somehow eluding Jonas Gustavsson's reflexes. Three goals on 11 shots got Gustavsson a trip to the bench, passing replacement Petr Mrazek en route.
The Ducks weren't done with the period, though. Sami Vatanen's shot slid into the net and out with a second to spare, leaving the Wings to skate into intermission with a three-goal deficit. As if they needed to be any more short-manned, the Wings lost defenseman Kyle Quincey in the first period after his decision to send Ryan Getzlaf into the boards resulted in a 5-minute major for boarding and an automatic game misconduct. Quincey is likely to be suspended; the norm this season for such a transgression is two games.
For a team that in all likelihood spent the intermission hearing some choice, harsh language, the Wings showed no push in the second period. Jonas Hiller made seven saves, few of them notable. The Ducks, on the other hand, didn't sit back; veteran Saku Koivu used a screen to score near the midway point.
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