New York Islander' Frans Nielsen (51) shoots the puck past Detroit Red Wings goalie Jonas Gustavsson (50) to score in a shootout of an NHL hockey game on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, in Uniondale, N.Y. The Islanders won on Nielsen's goal 5-4 in a shootout. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

Red Wings’ Babcock: ‘Shootouts are killing us’


Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland said there’s interest among his peers to extend the length of the overtime period in an effort to reduce the number of shootouts. He probably wishes that such a change had been implemented for the 2013-14 campaign.

Detroit is on a six-game losing streak and its last three games have ended with a shootout. They’ve now been unsuccessful in four shootout attempts this season.

“It’s pretty obvious we got to win in regulation because the shootouts are killing us,” coach Mike Babcock told the Detroit News.

There’s no single reason for their struggles. Jimmy Howard has a .429 save percentage in the skills competition compared to a career .710.

Jonas Gustavsson held the Islanders to one goal during Saturday’s shootout, but they still lost because of the other half of Detroit’s issue. Daniel Alfredsson is the only Red Wings player that’s managed to find the back of the net. Pavel Datsyuk, who has traditionally been one of the NHL’s best players in that regard, has failed in four attempts this season.

“It’s like anything in life, it gets in your head a little bit,” Babcock said. “To me, we got to be hard-headed. We got to be mentally tough and we just got to bring it to a table.”

Those four extra points would have been enough to propel the Red Wings into first place in the Atlantic Division. They’ll try to end their losing streak on Tuesday against the Nashville Predators.

Columbus collapse: Rangers spoil Blue Jackets’ opener

Jarret Stoll, Mats Zuccarello
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For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.

The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win.

They’ve now spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.

It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.

Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)

Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.

This post will be updated if there’s video of that staggering sequence.

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings chase Bernier

Mike Babcock
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Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.

As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.

The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.

This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.

Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.

Here’s video of Abdelkader’s hat trick: