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Treads Fall Off The Tank: Detroit 2, Ottawa 0

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Detroit comes out on top in a battle of two eliminated teams.

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Detroit Red Wings Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Well it’s Gordie Howe’s birthday today, so there’s something to celebrate.

For some reason I thought we were playing Toronto again, and I was looking forward to a fun game. Then I found out it was Ottawa. Well, let’s hope that it’s reasonably exciting.

First Period

Larkin, Mantha, and Hicketts are all starting the game, which is great to see. Larkin gets the first chance of the game, but he’s a little too wide to get a good shot on Condon.

Matt Duchene is playing on a line with Bobby Ryan, and during a camera close up, I could see that Ryan had “teams can retain up to 50% salary” in sharpie on his helmet with a large arrow decal pointing to it.

Frans Nielsen is out with Athanasiou and Abdelkader. Nielsen makes a series of nice defensive plays when he was forced to handle a difficult puck.

Gustav Nyquist puts an arm around Erik Karlsson after a stoppage in play early on, which is a touching gesture considering what his fellow Swede and his family have had to deal with. We’ve said it before, but we continue to wish Karlsson and his family the best in such an unimaginably hard time.

Hicketts is out again on the PP. One of the reasons I was so disappointed to see him go down after training camp was that he makes a difference moving the puck on the man advantage. He’s going to make some mistakes as he adapts to the NHL, but he has shown good instincts in the PP QB role.

Detroit gets a couple decent chances, but don’t get a goal on their first power play.

Ottawa gets a chance on the man advantage as Athanasiou goes off for hooking with 14:20 left in the period.

Helm hops on a loose puck while shorthanded, and Ottawa was slow recovering, allowing Larkin to drive the net for a 2 on 1. Helm’s pass couldn’t be handled cleanly by Larkin, or else he would have had a glorious chance.

Ottawa ends the power play with one good chance on a shot in the slot that Howard ate up.

With 8 minutes gone, the Senators are outshooting Detroit 5 to 1, but it feels like Detroit has been the better team so far.

After Howard makes a big save, Jensen takes a penalty for interference, and Ottawa goes back on the power play with just under 9 minutes left in the period.

Detroit keeps Ottawa to the outside on the PK until the end of the penalty, when Ottawa gets one good chance.

Athanasiou has a good shot, then sets up Mantha for another good chance, but neither goes in.

Outside of Karlsson, Ottawa’s defense has a really hard time moving the puck at the blue line, and Detroit should put more pressure on their defensemen. It seems likely to lead to odd-man rushes the other way.

I’m not much of a baseball fan, but it would have been cool to have both the Tigers and the Red Wings play downtown at the same time today. Those driving around the area might not feel the same way.

Howard has to make the first real big save of the game on a turnaround shot from Hoffman just outside the slot with 3 minutes left.

With 2 minutes left, Detroit is credited with 4 shots, but it seems like they’ve had more than that.

The period ends scoreless. If you looked at the shots, it would look more advantageous for Ottawa than it was. Detroit was even, if not slightly ahead in overall play.

The Gameflow chart from Natural Stat Trick supports that:

Natural Stat Trick

Either way, it was more entertaining than other games between these two have been.

Second Period

Larkin gets high sticked in the face early on, and Detroit quickly goes to the man advantage.

Bertuzzi is set up nicely in the slot, but his shot doesn’t make it on net. Detroit does a good job of outworking Ottawa’s penalty killers early on in the power play.

I had to double check on this, but Mickey had an....I guess senior moment here. He said that there is no name for a 4 minute penalty. I mean I know I’ve heard him use “double-minor” before, but sometimes I can’t remember where I put my keys, so glass houses and all that.

Wow. Larkin just scored the easiest non-empty net goal of his career.

Karlsson led the rush up ice, then lost it while everyone else was changing. Mantha led the rush the other way and gave it to Larkin who had a tap in. 1-0 Red Wings!

About a minute later, Mantha bulled his way through the Senators “defense” and got another great chance.

Howard makes a good save, and the rebound comes wide for a good followup, but Jensen gets in the way to help out Howard. Jensen is only about 454 plays like that away from making up for injuring Howard.

Joe Hicketts took a penalty for slashing with 5:25 left in the period.

Detroit kills it, and we remain at 1-0 Detroit.

Hicketts had a hard shot on net, which hit Mantha in front. Mantha is stung, but he got a shot off before skating to the bench.

The period ends with Detroit up 1-0. Normally I would be worried that we would give up the tying goal on the last shift of the third, but I’m not really that worried about that right now.

Even though the shots are close, Detroit is still outplaying Ottawa.

Natural Hat Trick

Third Period

Zetterberg takes a long shot on Condon that looks to sting the Ottawa netminder.

Athanasiou gets a penalty for delay of game for putting the puck over the glass from inside his own zone.

Karlsson has an open shot from a sharp angle, and Howard stops it.

Detroit kills the penalty as Athanasiou leaves the penalty box. He scores shortly after!!

But it’s 2018 and we have a goaltender interference replay. Svechnikov was in the crease, but it seems there is a case he was pushed in / held in the crease. It didn’t seem like he kept Condon from playing the puck, but we’ll have to see.

The goal stands, which seems to be the right call. 2-0 Detroit. Svechnikov and Kronwall have the assists. About 15 minutes left in the game.

Svechnikov takes a penalty for slashing, although the replay didn’t show a slash. It’s entirely possible that it was outside the scope of the replay shown, so who knows.

Howard with a big save on Hoffman who fakes the shot and comes in closer for a better angle.

He then stones Hoffman again on a shot from the slot with no Detroit players around.

The penalty expires with Detroit still up 2-0. We have about 10 minutes left in the game.

Zetterberg creates a chance out of nothing as he steals the puck and breaks into the zone. He gets the puck to Bertuzzi, but it’s a really hard shot to get off. Regardless, Ottawa takes a penalty on the play.

Detroit doesn’t score on the power play, and it’s still 2-0.

Darren Helm gets a breakaway, but can’t score. He goes behind the net and throws it to a streaking Athanasiou, who just misses over the net on a backhand.

Ericsson had a beautiful slap pass to Nyquist, who nearly tipped it through Condon for what would have been a highlight-reel goal.

At this point, with a few minutes left, both teams are pretty much playing this out.

Condon goes to the bench with 2 minutes left. Ryan slashes the stick out of Abdelkader’s hands, and Detroit will have a power play to end the game if they don’t score, so you can pretty much put this one in the books.

And now you can. 2-0 Detroit. Howard gets his 24th career shutout. He and Larkin were the clear standout players today.