Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg thought his team would be fired up Tuesday at home and respond with energy and urgency following a two-day break, after a flat performance in Columbus.

Instead, the Red Wings once again dug themselves a hole in the first period. Unlike previous clubs, this team has little margin for error and can't afford to do things the hard way, not when it's scrapping for every goal and giving up too many easy ones.

The Red Wings spotted Calgary a two-goal lead a little more than 10 minutes into the game, played catch-up all night, and didn't mount enough pressure when presented an opportunity, unexpectedly, in the third period, losing 4-1 at Joe Louis Arena.

“This game was disappointing,'' Zetterberg said, without having to say it. “We forgot about that game in Columbus. We had a chance today to play a little better.''

But, they didn't. Coach Mike Babcock, however, didn't fault the effort, just the execution.

“I thought we did lots of good things, but we made some mistakes and they shot it in our net,'' Babcock said. “So we’re chasing the game and we had opportunities, but didn’t capitalize on them.

“I didn’t think we were terrible, but catch-up hockey is losing hockey. You can’t start from behind. You have to start from ahead. Get playing right from the get-go.''

The Red Wings have been outscored 9-3 in the first period this season, following goals by Jarome Iginla at 3:24 and Curtis Glencross at 10:35 during a five-on-three power play.