CLOSE

The season is lost, but the Detroit Red Wings still have much to play for. Filmed Feb. 14, 2020 in Boston.

Detroit Free Press

BOSTON — General manager Steve Yzerman milled about TD Garden on Friday as the Detroit Red Wings practiced, a literal reminder of how much there still is to play for this season.

The Wings enter Saturday’s matinee against the Boston Bruins in need of redemption after quitting in the third period of their previous game. Friday’s on-ice activities concluded with blue-line-to-blue line skating drills, a message to not let a 14-41-4 record affect work ethic.

The Wings will miss the playoffs for a fourth straight season, but there are jobs on the line and Thursday’s 4-1 loss at New Jersey was a step backward.

“There’s lots to be played for,” coach Jeff Blashill said Friday. “Individually, there’s certainly lots on different guys’ plates, whether it’s contracts, whether it’s solidifying spots in the NHL, solidifying spots on our hockey team. But I think more importantly, those that want to be a part of this long-term solution here, we’re going to take steps the rest of the year.

“If you want to be part of the long-term solution, you’re doing everything you can to make sure we’re taking steps in the right direction.”

More on the Wings:

Mailbag: What to truly watch during the rest of this dreadful season

Perlini jokes after close call with skate: ‘I’m breathing like a fish now’

The Wings lack enough skilled players to be competitive, but for the majority of the season they have worked hard, even as the results have disappointed. They entered the third period at New Jersey with a 1-0 lead, only to surrender four goals in four minutes. 

Blashill was asked about his role in reversing such a collapse. The Wings collectively took their “foot off the gas,” as Dylan Larkin put it Thursday, and a coach can’t bench an entire team.

“As it’s going in the game, the only thing you probably have is a timeout,” Blashill said. “Sometimes those work and sometimes they don’t at all. You get three of them a period with the TV timeouts. 

“Guys have to step on the ice and dig in. They have to change momentum with their shift. We didn’t do that and now we have to react to it. We have to be better than we were.”

The Wings have beaten the Bruins twice at Little Caesars Arena this season, but the Bruins have lost only twice in 31 home games. They’re also trying to stay ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning, which has moved within one point of Boston’s first-place lead in the Atlantic Division. 

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter.