Effort isn’t a problem for the Red Wings.

They’re playing hard, never mind the season’s inconsistency.

Work ethic isn’t an issue.

But as Henrik Zetterberg pointed out after Saturday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, it’s also about playing with a bit more intelligence.

“This team’s working hard,” said Zetterberg, after the Red Wings saw their home winless streak reach five games. “Sometimes when it doesn’t go your way, you just skate and skate and skate.

“So, it’s tough to work harder. You’ve just got to work smarter. You’ve got to trust your structure. It’s not always ‘you’ve got to work harder.’ ”

The Red Wings were fortunate to escape with a point Saturday, given the amount of giveaways. Lightning leading goalscorer Steven Stamkos had several quality point-blank chances he didn’t convert, which could have blown the game open for Tampa.

With Jonathan Ericsson (shoulder) unavailable until likely this week, the defense has been more inexperienced, and the mistakes have shown.

“Even when it was tied 2-2, why would we be giving up opportunities,” coach Mike Babcock said. “Makes no sense to me. We have to be way more efficient on the back. We got to get way more out of more guys.

“We’re a better team than (how) we played. I have to give them (Tampa) credit. They played fast. They were good, their defense was good, way more efficient than our defense. They had more speed throughout their lineup.

“What I didn’t like was when we lost our composure.”

Ericsson and Brendan Smith (shoulder) are both expected to return to the lineup this week, likely stabilizing the back end.

“We’ve been making too many turnovers, creating turnovers all over the ice,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said.