Detroit Red Wings v San Jose Sharks - Game Seven

Detroit isn’t freaking out about its lack of offense…yet

On Oct. 21, the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2. The win pushed their record to a perfect 5-0-0 on the year; in those five games, Detroit scored 18 goals and outscored the opposition by 11.

Then something went wrong.

It started with a 7-1 loss in Washington and continued through last night’s 4-1 loss to Calgary — Detroit’s sixth loss in a row. In those six games, the Wings scored a mere six goals and were outscored by 16.

What’s happening in Detroit right now is bad stretch for sure, but the Wings are maintaining their composure.

Well, sorta.

It’s true that following the loss to Calgary Dan Cleary called the scenario “a huge embarrassment” and Niklas Kronwall said “it can’t get much worse.” Those might sound like the words of a crew that’s primed for a freak out, but the Wings seem to have enough confidence to assume things will eventually turn around.

And if they don’t, head coach Mike Babcock will remind this isn’t the time to feel sorry for themselves.

“We’re just not scoring easy right now — that’s [six goals in six games] just not enough, especially our team with the names we have on this team,” Babcock told the Detroit News. “[But] you can’t let it snowball on you. You can’t be mentally soft. Nobody is going to feel sorry for you. You have to tighten up and put a stop to it.”

Logic suggests this offensive dry spell is an anomaly, especially for the top line guys. Pavel Datsyuk is on pace for 60 points, but he’s been a point-a-game player since the lockout. Henrik Zetterberg is on pace for 30, but he’s never scored fewer than 44 (and that was when he was a rookie.) Cleary is on pace for 22, but he’s averaged 40 a season over the last five years (and posted a career-high 46 last year.) Eventually, you have to figure they’ll bump the slump — and they’ll bump it through hard work, according to Cleary.

“Each guy has to take it upon himself individually to find your game, what your strength is to this team and just bring it,” Cleary told the Detroit Free Press. “The one thing I’ve never had to do is question our team’s work ethic. I truly believe we’ve got good people in here that pride themselves on being good players, and working hard is part of that, if not the most important part. I don’t see that as the problem.”

Breaks tends to play a role in solving these situations as well, and Detroit will get one this Saturday. They’ll host the road-weary Ducks at the Joe — the last game of Anaheim’s grueling seven-game road trip (which the Ducks are 1-2-3 on thus far.)

Leon Draisaitl continues hot streak with silky smooth goal (Video)

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Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”

Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).

Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.

Read more about his rise here.

Video: Kuznetsov sets table for Vrana’s first NHL goal

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 27:  Jakub Vrana of the Washington Capitals poses for a portrait during the 2014 NHL Draft at the Wells Fargo Center on June 27, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
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In his fifth NHL game, intriguing Washington Capitals prospect Jakub Vrana scored his first NHL goal (and point).

Let’s be honest, though; Evgeny Kuznetsov deserves plenty of the credit, as he sent a fantastic pass for Vrana’s tap-in tally.

See it for yourself:

Even if that was mostly Kuznetsov, Vrana has been getting his chances so far.

He generated four shots on goal in two separate occasions so far in his four games of NHL action, so maybe he was due for a chance like this.

Considering he’s just 20 years old, the Capitals could get used to Kuznetsov to Vrana.

Update: The Capitals won 4-1, and Vrana’s first goal wasn’t the only noteworthy “first.” After piling on shots, John Carlson finally scored his first goal of the season:

Kulikov returns to increasingly healthy Sabres lineup

CALGARY, AB - OCTOBER 18: Dmitry Kulikov #77 of the Buffalo Sabres in action against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on October 18, 2016 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
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No one’s going to confuse Dmitry Kulikov with Jack Eichel, but the Buffalo Sabres are likely happy to have him back after a long absence, too.

The Sabres have been on an upward trend lately (5-2-2 in their last nine games), and now they get a key defenseman back against the Washington Capitals on Friday night.

Kulikov last played on Nov. 9 and hasn’t recorded a point in 12 games, making for a tough start to his stint with the Sabres. Maybe he’ll begin to get a little more traction with his new team tonight?

He’s far from the only returning Buffalo player, either, as Josh Gorges and Nicolas Deslauriers are also back in the mix. Kulikov is slated to be on the Sabres’ second pairing with Cody Franson.

Buffalo sent Brendan Guhle to the AHL to make room for these tweaks.

With Foligno out sick, Columbus gives Bjorkstrand another shot

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 13:  Oliver Bjorkstrand #28 of the Columbus Blue Jackets lines up for a face-off during the game against the Boston Bruins on October 13, 2016 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
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The Columbus Blue Jackets will be without captain Nick Foligno because of an illness on Friday, opening up an opportunity for interesting prospect Oliver Bjorkstrand.

The team tweeted out his linemates as Matt Calvert and Lukas Sedlak as a solid fourth line facing the Detroit Red Wings.

He failed to generate much (zero points, two shots on goal) in three games so far with Columbus this season, receiving about 25 minutes of ice time over that span.

With eight goals and 12 points in 19 AHL games so far in 2016-17, there’s the thought that he could eventually make the next step to becoming a decent contributor for the Blue Jackets.

Perhaps this will constitute his first real step in that direction?

Apparently this is a pretty abrupt situation for the 21-year-old: