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Less Larkin, Less Fun, Les Miserables Senators: Red Wings Win 2-0

Detroit earned their first shutout of the season even missing their star center.

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Ottawa Senators Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Listen, Dylan Larkin is out tonight, we just played an overtime game against a different division rival, and the Ottawa Senators are annoying jerks who started this game sitting in dead last in the league. Can you spell recipe for disaster?

First Period:

Ottawa’s first good chance on the night came from a real dumb turnover as Frans Nielsen sent the puck back to Thomas Vanek at the blueline, whose pass attempt to Jonathan Ericsson was intercepted by Colin White. White’s shot went wide of Jonathan Bernier at the other end.

Seven minutes and change into the game, the only thing that ended up in a net was Nielsen’s stick, which was somehow smacked out of his hand and went cartwheeling into his own goal. Fortunately, it was while he was attempting to block a shot so the puck stayed out.

The first goal of the game came on an excellent passing play that ended with Danny DeKeyser scoring his second goal in 24 hours. Anthony Mantha made a nice little fake-out pass to keep the puck in the zone, Vanek skipped it over to Nick Jensen, back to Vanek and then to DeKeyser, who let it go with Nielsen screening in front. I was literally just yelling at them to actually shoot the puck when it hit the back of the Senators’ net. Anyone have any good recipes for crow?

Darren Helm wanted to get in on the surprise train by showing some fancy Ham Hands on a passing play with Martin Frk. Just 39 seconds after the Wings took the lead, 42 and 43 combined to extend it, with Helm tossing the puck cross-ice over the stick of a prone, sliding Mark Stone to Frk, who got it back to Helm to draw Craig Anderson across his crease. Helm slid the puck backhand past Anderson, and both Stone and the Ottawa goalie were covered in snow.

Goalpost pings are either some of the best or worst sounds in hockey, depending on which team you’re on. In this case, the Red Wings got a good ping when Rudolfs Balcers, who is definitely a real person and not EA generated, hit the post to Bernier’s left about as square as is possible. Whew.

Andreas Athanasiou nearly capitalized on another Ottawa turnover with a signature deke-through-the-crease move, which at that point would have just been hilarious. In any case, I had the chance to be amused by the fact that the Senators more than doubled up the Red Wings in shots through the first and were still losing by two goals.

Shots: 15-7 Senators
Score: 2-0 Detroit

Second Period:

The Wings started off the second applying more pressure with a 3-on-2 into the Ottawa zone. Justin Abdelkader dropped a pass back for Gustav Nyquist, Goose followed suit back to Mike Green, whose quick shot was turned away by Anderson’s right pad. Coming back to the other end of the ice, Detroit went to the first man advantage of the game as Brady Tkachuk high-sticked Luke Glendening. Luke came up bleeding and Tkachuk ended up getting a double minor.

For a team that just last night blew a lead, the Wings didn’t seem to have a whole lot of intent to further extend their current one. Detroit had a couple of decent chances, most notably about three whole minutes into the penalty that was really just more passing. Zack Smith got called for a trip, giving the Wings 37 seconds of a 5-on-3, but even then they had the opportunity to pepper the net with shots and didn’t take it.

The Senators nearly made the Wings look even worse as a flubbed pass by Green was intercepted by Stone that he couldn’t force past Bernier with just seconds left on the Smith penalty. Yikes, dude.

Helm giveth, Helm taketh away as an accidental trip ended with Christian Jaros slamming legs-first into the boards. Jaros seemed to be holding his left knee briefly before he was able to get to his feet and skate off. Helm went to the box for the infraction to give Ottawa their first power play.

Good news as Jaros was actually able to come out during the power play; even better news when the Senators couldn’t manage a single shot in their two minutes.

Back to the Darren Helm Penalty Kill as 43 was called again, this time for a high-stick. I hope Helm knows that there isn’t a new curly fries promotion for three penalties committed by the same player. Still no success for Ottawa on this power play, though they did actually manage a few shots on net this time.

This seemed to be the period of almosts, as Vanek nearly capitalized on a rebound off a long Mantha shot. Ah well, at least we outshot the Senators this period.

Shots: 22-16 Senators
Score: 2-0 Detroit

Third Period:

Another Ottawa giveaway nearly led to an early Red Wings goal, as Cody Ceci popped the puck to center on a perfect set-up for a Glendening shot. Like it was choreographed so well you’d think they were on the same team. I know the Senators are a train wreck, but I don’t think you can sneak onto another team like that. You’ve gotta stow away in an equipment bag or something.

Abdelkader got a breakaway behind the Senators’ defense that Anderson stopped. I don’t want to begrudge a Red Wings scoring chance, but it wasn’t that great of a shot. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Five and a half minutes to go and Trevor Thompson had to go and drop the “S” word. I mean, I’m superstitious on account of being a healthcare worker on the night shift, but come on.

Nielsen appeared to take a shot off his foot or ankle and was seen hunched over at the bench for some time, so yay, down to ten forwards! Ottawa also decided to start crashing the net more than they have so far all game, so Bernier was forced to hold strong in his crease and smother a puck. All this within thirty seconds of the forbidden word being uttered, which is definitely not due to the pressure associated with a losing team’s late push.

Then Ottawa got another shot in on Bernier, which he had trapped underneath his left pad until Mark Borowiecki shoved the pad and puck. The puck was knocked free and into the net, but the goal was immediately called off, causing a whole lot of pushing, shoving, and a couple of gloved punches in the Detroit crease. Big shocker: the goalie interference was complemented by Tkachuk started that part by shoving Niklas Kronwall to the ice, which is pretty damn rude considering Kronwall is just a harmless old man by this point.

Karma: Tkachuk couldn’t get his helmet strap done up during one of the next stoppages, so he had to go off the ice and get it fixed while the play started without him.

Anderson to the bench with about three minutes left. I’m strangely not all that concerned given how this game has gone so far. Hilariously, Ottawa almost scored on themselves when a failed pass ended up bouncing off the boards and sliding within inches of the Senators’ net at the other end.

Glendening got closer with his intentional attempt at the empty net, but he missed too and caused an icing with 32.6 seconds left.

One last save for the Red Wings as Ryan Dzingel came after a rebound that Bernier fought off to seal it. That’s the first shutout for the Red Wings this season, which is both surprising in and of itself and considering we had a two-goal lead for more than 40 minutes of this game. I can’t explain these things.

Shots: 35-21 Senators
Score: 2-0 Detroit

Final Thoughts:

  • I admit I was a little confused at the decision to go 11/7. To me that makes more sense when you have a hole on your 4th line and you’ve got good young players you can double-shift and pair up with multiple partners. When the best candidate for that job is injured, wouldn’t consistent lines be a better choice?
  • Man, I thought I would be feeling sad at our situation with Larkin out tonight, but the Ducks went and threw that out the window. They ended up down 6-0 to the Jets in the first period!
  • Oh hey, did you hear something called the... Superb Owl is being played tomorrow? Sounds like a lot of fun to m— wait, there’s not actually any birds of prey involved? It’s the Super Bowl? Well that sounds boring.
  • The second period really made me disregard my second Final Thought. I was real sad watching those consecutive power plays without Larkin. :(
  • I’m crying. Are you crying?