Mike Babcock called a mandatory player meeting for this morning in St. Paul, coming off the Red Wings distressing 5-4 overtime loss to Phoenix. Whatever happened, it didn't help.
The Red Wings were manhandled by the Minnesota Wild 5-2, in a game that wasn't as close as the score would indicate. Despite Chris Osgood only making 20 out of 25 saves, this was a team failure: odd-man rushes, poor defense, and just a general malaise.
Tonight it was Pavel Datsuyk who had a two-goal game go to waste, and while the Wings didn't have a lead to squander, it was ugly to watch.
The Wild scored first. With Niklas Kronwall in the box for slashing, Andrew Brunette put a pass from behind the net to Antti Miettinen, threading three Red Wings in the process. Miettinen didn't miss, netting his 15th of the season, with Mikko Koivu picking up the second assist.
But the Red Wings came right back, as Dan Cleary was skating right along the left side boards when he passed cross-ice to Nicklas Lidstrom. Lidstrom took a 60-foot shot that Josh Harding blocked, but the puck dribbled right to Pavel Datsyuk. He even had enough time to double pump and still get the puck past Harding for his 13th of the season.
But a few minutes later, Brunette found himself behind the net with Datsyuk, when Datsyuk seemed to lose his skate edge and fell. That gave Brunette the opportunity to pass it to Miettinen, who quickly put it past Osgood for his second goal of the night.
Before they could finish announcing the goal in the arena, the Wings responded, with the same players in different positions. Cleary this time passed it to Lidstrom at the blue line, and his shot would go off Datsyuk's airborne stick to earn his second of the night 27 seconds after the Wild goal.
Yet the period wasn't done. Just 26 seconds later, it was untied, as Greg Zanon's blast from the blue line went off former Michigan Wolverine Andrew Ebbett and past Osgood to give them the lead back. It was Ebbett's fifth of the season.
In the third, the Wild broke it open. First, Guillaume Latendresse took advantage of a cross-ice pass from Eric Belander to put the puck through Osgood to get on the board with his 16th of the season. Then Koivu put the puck through the legs of Brad Stuart towards Martin Havlat, who beat Osgood for his 10th of the season, with Marek Zidlicky picking up the second assist.
The Red Wings will travel home to face the Nashville Predators Friday night.
Player of the game: Pavel Datsuyk. A pair of goals tonight was the lone bright spot on a dreary night in Minnesota.