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Larkin Leads the Way for Red Wings in 3-2 SO Win

Larkin nets powerplay goal and shootout winner in big effort

Ottawa Senators v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Red Wings hosted the Ottawa Senators tonight looking to build off the 4-3 win on Tuesday night over the Canadiens. Something the Canadiens and Senators have in common is Filip Zadina promised to fill their nets with pucks. The Red Wings were counting on him to follow suit like he did on Tuesday.

This game featured two teams floundering away at the bottom of the standings with Detroit holding quite the lock down on last spot, and the Senators sitting in a tie for 29th, albeit with a 12 point gap between them. But the Senators have been in a particular rut of late, having lost five games straight, giving up five or more goals in each of the last four contests coming into tonight. Perhaps giving a chance for the Wings to score a few.

The Red Wings continue to carry a thin lineup from what was already a shaky roster due to a cluster of injuries including to top players Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou who both appear to not be due back for awhile yet. All the more reason the team needed Frans Nielsen to continue a bit of a resurgence after scoring twice in the game against Montreal. Beyond that, they were counting on Filip Zadina to stay hot and the top line of Larkin, Bertuzzi, and Fabbri to dominate. In goal tonight, Jonathan Bernier got the start as he has taken hold of the Detroit crease starting five of the last six.

As far as the Ottawa lineup, the man to watch was Anthony Duclair who has had a hot hand against the Red Wings scoring four times against them. Another obvious player to watch was Brady Tkachuk who can be a thorn in the side of his opponents and also the connection between he and Zadina on their draft day when he helped facilitate Zadina’s perceived slide to Detroit. In goal for Ottawa tonight was Marcus Hogberg who has started his career with a 1-2-2 record, 3.42 GAA, and .894 SV%.

If ever the stars were aligned for the Wings to score in bunches this season, this game may have been their best chance, but would they cash in?

1st Period

Luke Glendening set the tone early with a solid hit at the Ottawa blue line, hoping to send a message to the Senators that the Red Wings were coming to play in this one. Detroit had the first chance when Filppula picked off a pass at the Senators blue line and quickly sent it to Bertuzzi at the net who tried to slide the puck across the crease for Fabbri but he couldn’t get a stick on the puck in traffic.

Bernier faced his first test on a shot from Balcers from the top of the circle to the goaltender’s right. He promptly swallowed up the shot and provided no rebound. He quickly followed that up absorbing another shot from the point off the stick of Chabot from the blue line through traffic. Bernier faced a flurry after that including a nice save on a redirection and after making 3 or 4 saves, and a timely Biega blocked shot, Bernier gathered the puck and got a whistle.

Fabbri came very close to a clean break when he jumped up to intercept a cross-ice pass and would’ve been in alone but the puck had just cleared the zone by inches putting him offside. It was the Senators with the next chance when a puck was sent to the front of the net where it redirected off a Wings’ skate and slid just wide.

At the halfway point of the period the shots were 8-3 Senators as the Red Wings struggled to get much going early on. The Red Wings tried to turn the momentum, first with a good sustained pressure shift from the top line, then with a burst by Zadina as he danced around Hainsey at the offensive blue line, and then put a shot on net through Chabot’s skates. Zadina even grabbed his own rebound but couldn’t put it past the netminder. A good effort by the young Czech nonetheless.

We got to see Yzerman during the commercial break where he made a good point about how wherever prospects are playing they need to be getting a healthy amount of ice time. Back to the game action, Zadina went off slowly after flipping over a Senators player’s hip on a forecheck play that sent him airborne and landing awkwardly on his hip.

Shortly after with about 5:00 to play, Hronek received a puck at the point from Fabbri and walked across the blue line before sending a shot pass through traffic to an uncovered Bertuzzi at the side of the crease who redirected it into the top of the net on a great play by both players, 1-0 Red Wings.

Zadina got another shift after the goal, looking no worse for wear thankfully. The Wings came very close again with 2:00 to play when Bertuzzi made a nifty drop pass to Larkin who took a lane to the net before sliding it across the slot to Fabbri who double clutched and then couldn’t beat Hogberg with the shot. A pretty play that didn’t quite finish.

Larkin forced a turnover at the Senators blue line at the end of the period and quickly sent the puck to the net where Hronek, Bertuzzi, and Fabbri were all crashing but the buzzer went to close the period before any of them could get control.

Detroit was outshot 10-6 in the period, but had some good looks early on. Bernier looked sharp on the shots he faced and did well to limit and control his rebounds. Other notable players in the first period were Zadina who made a couple nice plays, and the top line who generated some shots along with the goal while still leaving room to want more from them.

2nd Period

Ottawa controlled the play early in the second frame. The Wings had a chance on a seemingly harmless play where Zadina flipped a lobbing backhand toward the net from the side boards. A crashing Erne knocked the puck out of the air but Hogberg was quick to react and gathered in the puck. The replay showed the play may have been a high stick anyway. On the next shift, the Senators took the first penalty of the game when Hainsey tripped Ehn behind the Senators net.

The Wings took some time to get setup on the powerplay with the first shot coming off of a Zadina one timer from the right dot, but with no traffic in front Hogberg made a relatively easy save. With 0:24 remaining on the powerplay the Senators took a slashing penalty in the neutral zone. So while the 5 on 4 chance generated nothing, the Wings had a chance to kick start their special teams with a limited 5 on 3 opportunity. But the advantage was wasted and they instead gave up a 2 on 1 chance as the first penalty expired. As the play turned the other way Larkin made a great individual effort as he received the standard drop pass through the neutral zone. He knifed his way through the center of the zone, through two defenders, and then made a hard cut across the crease from right to left and tucked the puck around the outstretched goaltender, beautiful goal by Larkin, 2-0 Red Wings.

But on the ensuing shift, Tkachuk received the puck behind the Detroit net. He tried to wrap around and jam it in, but instead it slid off his stick into the crease area where it hit Nemeth’s skate and redirected through Bernier’s five hole, 2-1.

Definitely an ugly one, but just a bad break for the Wings rather than a gaffe of any kind. But the Senators looked to use the goal as a rallying point and started to buzz a bit around the Detroit zone after the goal. A bit of a dust-up occurred at the Detroit bench as Hronek and Tkachuk got engaged with each other. Tkachuk quickly dropped his gloves while Hronek wisely kept his on. But it was Hronek who took 4:00 to Tkachuk’s 2:00 as his play initiated the confrontation. On the ensuing penalty kill Detroit did a good job to keep the puck to the outside for the most part initially. But on one chance a redirection had Bernier sprawled flat on his back, luckily with the puck underneath him. Then on the resulting faceoff a point shot was deftly redirected by Colin White on a puck that was knee height and behind him. It was a perfect deflection that found it’s way to the short side past Bernier, 2-2.

Following the halfway point of the game, Fabbri drew a penalty on Chabot when Fabbri rushed down the wing and tried to cut towards the center and Chabot caught him with an outstretched leg taking a tripping penalty. But it was the Senators with the best chance on the Wings powerplay when they rushed off on a 2 on 1 chance where Mike Green forced Tierney to shoot the puck on the chance and Bernier steered it to the corner. This powerplay left a lot to be desired from Detroit.

After evening the shots up earlier in the period the Wings allowed the Senators to open up a 16-12 shot advantage as the period waned down. Luke Glendening made a terrific back check play lifting a Senators player stick from behind just before he released a shot on a partial breakaway. The Senators hemmed the Wings in on the next shift whistling a few shots at and wide of Bernier. The Wings fourth line of Ehn, Abdelkader, and Smith tried to turn it around with a shift of sustained pressure of their own.

As the buzzer sounded to end the second frame, Detroit trailed the Senators 19-14 in shots while maintaining the 2-2 tie. Detroit was probably lucky to get out of the period with the tie as outside of the Larkin goal the Red Wings didn’t generate much of anything in the period. Even with the two goals against Bernier continued to look on top of his game.

3rd Period

The 3rd period got off to a slow start as Ottawa collected the first three shots of the period. 4:00 in and Lashoff got himself a penalty for an offensive zone hook when he pinched up the boards and got his stick into a Senators player’s hands. On the penalty kill, the Wings kept the Senators out of the zone for the most part directing away several entry attempts. Ottawa was finally able to gain the zone when they did the intentional icing play where they sent it to a corner where their player could get there first, but never got a shot on the man advantage.

The Larkin line finally got things going in the Wings favour. They almost created a very similar goal to the Bertuzzi one from the first period. This time Hronek grabbed the puck at the left point and sent a shot pass through traffic to the far side of the crease where Larkin was cutting into the area. But this time the goaltender was able to get in front of deflection and keep the game tied.

The game picked up some pace after that Detroit chance, with Ottawa collecting the better of the shots. One series started when Bowey made a lazy play when collecting a dump in and turned it over rather than getting it up the boards quickly. Then Hronek made a terrible giveaway right into the slot where the high danger shot was then blocked, luckily for him and the Wings.

The Helm, Nielsen, Glendening line had a terrific shift past the halfway point of the period with Helm getting a pair of good looks from the high slot but was unable to get it to the back of the net. Later Bernier had to come up with a big save on a Namestnikov wraparound attempt. The goaltender did a great job reaching back and extending his pad to the post. Late in the period Bowey made a nice play to jump and grab a high lob pass through the neutral zone, but then immediately turned it over leading to a chance for Tkachuk on the resulting break as he tried to reach out and poke a puck past Bernier.

With 1:25 to play Fabbri was knocked down from behind at the offensive blue line and it appeared to spring the Sens for a 3 on 2 rush but instead a penalty was called, albeit a bit of a soft one. The Senators called a timeout before the late powerplay started. The Wings had their chance to score a late winner on the man advantage. The Wings worked the puck around the offensive zone but didn’t get a good chance through the first minute of the powerplay as the big PP1 group came off. The second unit did much of the same for their 0:30 of time, working the puck around the outside without getting a shot as the buzzer sounded.

Overtime

The Red Wings took the remaining 0:35 of powerplay time into the overtime period at 4 on 3. The Wings opened with Larkin, Zadina, Fabbri, and Hronek. They set Fabbri up for the shot from the top of the zone with Larkin screening in front but it didn’t go through. The Wings couldn’t capitalise on the powerplay chance to start the overtime period.

The action continued at 4 on 4 for a bit following the penalty with neither team getting a shot. To start the 3 on 3 portion Detroit sent out Glendening, Bertuzzi, and Green. Glendening made way for Filppula after the Wings got possession. Then all hell broke loose as Detroit had four, yes FOUR chances in 10 seconds as Filppula was stopped by a diving Hogberg, he then grabbed the rebound on the far side of the net after circling behind, and was again stopped by a diving Hogberg. Green then had a shot blocked from the hash marks. And it appeared as he picked up the loose puck himself, a final shot hit the post.

After all that, the three Red Wings all got stuck on the ice and a clearly gassed group was forced to take a penalty after straining around the defensive zone. The first penalty kill group was stuck on the ice for an extended time during the first 1:30 of the penalty kill but the puck stayed out of the Detroit net. The Senators created a few redirect chances through the crease area but Bernier was terrific. The game went back to even strength for the final 0:12. What an overtime!

Shootout

First up was Tyler Bertuzzi who made a quick stop at the net and went to the backhand but Hogberg stayed with him and made the save.

Tyler Ennis for the Senators came down the middle, then as he hit the hash marks turned his blade upright placing the toe on top of the puck, then tried to zip it five hole, but Bernier was able to close it in time. A very unique and skilled move from Ennis.

Larkin went next going out wide from right to left with his left shot, he faked to go back to the backhand then snapped a forehand shot that tipped off the top of Hogberg’s pad and into the net!

Duclair for the Senators came in right to left before cutting back to the right on his backhand side but Bernier was not fooled at all and gave him nothing on the short side.

Frans Nielsen had a chance to end it with his legendary record in the shootout. He came down the middle then tried to beat Hogberg five hole but failed to do so.

To keep the Sens alive, Animisov came in and went backhand deke to forehand deke but again Bernier was all over it and sealed the bottom of the net giving Animisov nothing.

RED WINGS WIN!!!

Wrapping Up

It was quite an entertaining contest throughout and all the better when the Red Wings ultimately win. Larkin had arguably his best game of the season willing this team to victory. His powerplay goal was maybe his best goal of the season. Hronek had a great game as well picking up a pair of assists. Bertuzzi had a goal and an assist. So the Wings best players came to play tonight. Bernier was strong all night and did a great job controlling rebounds.

The potential kryptonite on the other team in Anthony Duclair was barely noticeable tonight. Instead Tkachuk was their most dangerous player in this one. The young Hogberg had a very good game as well, in particular that overtime series of saves.

The energy in the LCA tonight was clearly noticeable even on TV. Not sure what the actual crowd size was in comparison to most games this year but it was a step towards what you hope this building can be. All in all this was a fun one, and hopefully there are more to come.

LGRW!!!