Detroit Red Wings have five players in COVID protocol, may soon face game postponements

For the third time this season, the Detroit Red Wings are faced with salvaging a series.

They lost their first game at Chicago, falling 4-1 on Friday. The teams play again Sunday afternoon. The Wings had to make do without several key players because of the pandemic, leaving them wondering if they will face a temporary shutdown.

“Well we’re five guys down,” coach Jeff Blashill said Friday night. “The other team with five guys down is Carolina, and they postponed their games. So, that is where we are at. Certainly, it does not help chemistry, but again … we are just trying to control what we can control.”

Chicago Blackhawks' Connor Murphy and Detroit Red Wings' Vladislav Namestnikov battle for the puck along the boards at the United Center on Jan. 22, 2021 in Chicago.
Chicago Blackhawks’ Connor Murphy and Detroit Red Wings’ Vladislav Namestnikov battle for the puck along the boards at the United Center on Jan. 22, 2021 in Chicago.

The performance was a letdown after a four-game homes stand that left the Wings feeling good about themselves as they came back to win against the Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets. But the Blackhawks built a 3-0 lead before Dylan Larkin scored a goal set up by Marc Staal and Frans Nielsen, and now the Wings are left to hope they can split the series come Sunday’s matinee.

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“You never know when you wake up what the roster is going to be like, “ Larkin said. “This is the reality of our situation right how.”

The Wings made do with 11 forwards and seven defensemen. Among those who made their season debuts were Darren Helm, Alex Biega and Christian Djoos.

Goaltender Thomas Greiss made 24 saves on 27 shots.

Two of the Blackhawks’ goals came during power plays. The Wings had been doing well killing penalties until Friday and most damningly went 0-for-5 on man advantages after finally scoring on a power play during their fourth game of the season.

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The Wings were without second-line center Robby Fabbri, who entered COVID protocol Jan. 11. Top-six winger Filip Zadina also missed the game because of being in pandemic protocol.

Contact Helene St. James at Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Red Wings may have to postpone games due to COVID-19

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