Hockey / Sports

Babcock says penalty kill let down Red Wings

BOSTON -- Red Wings coach Mike Babcock called out his special teams, especially the penalty kill, as a key reason behind the quick playoff exit.

The power play converted once in Saturday's 4-2 loss to the Bruins at TD Garden, which ended the first-round series after five games. It was the second straight game the Wings scored with a man advantage, but overall they went 2-for-20.

The Wings' power play struggled all season, largely due to the absence of Pavel Datsyuk or Henrik Zetterberg -- and at times both. The penalty killing was generally good throughout the regular season, but it disintegrated against the Bruins, allowing six goals on 16 attempts.

Two of those goals came Saturday.

"I thought our penalty killing let us down," Babcock said. "It was so good all year, and for whatever reason, we got ourselves rattled. We gave up two goals today -- and I'm not trying to take anything away from Boston -- but one is off the rush, they were outside the dots, and the second one was a 4-on-3 and they go underneath us. So those were two things you can't do.

"I thought our penalty kill let us down."

The Bruins entered the series with one of the best power plays in the league, but their penalty kill wasn't much better, statistically, than Detroit's. Yet the Bruins repeatedly won face-offs, forcing the Wings to chase the puck, and then the Bruins did such a good job denying entry at the blue line, the Wings would end up expending more energy during their power plays than the Bruins would spend killing them.

"Chances were just tough to come by," said Johan Franzen, who had one assist in the series. "They're a tough team to get into the net against. Give them the credit."

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