The game started with a tribute to Eugene Melnyk. He has never been my favorite owner in the league, but his passing is still sad. I might not have cared for his public presence, but the NHL is a better league with a team in Ottawa, and he helped keep the team there. He was still quite young, relatively speaking, and whatever my opinions may be on his work as an owner, I hope his family and friends find some solace.
The early going of the period was a lot of back-and-forth with fairly equal play. As Ken and Mick pointed out, the Wings had been scored on within the first six minutes for like, the last billion games. Detroit got a victory, though however small, when they crossed that six-minute thresh hold with the score even at 0-0.
Then, 90 seconds later, something funny happened. The Red Wings scored the first goal! Vrana entered the zone along the boards and took a hit to dish the puck to a streaking Rasmussen. Rasmussen then deked Stutzle to break free and get in alone on Anton Forsberg and didn’t miss the mark; 1-0 Red Wings! Really good work by Ras, and a great setup by Vrana.
Veleno would kill the momentum, though, by taking a hooking penalty on the next shift. Thanks to some solid play and no doubt a lot of pearl clutching from Detroit fans, the Wings preserved the lead.
After the mid-way commercial break of the period, Greiss had to make a couple of really nice saves on account of Ottawa really pushing to score the equalizer. And while Ottawa, for the moment, had failed to score any points on the board, they did score big points with Mike Bremer by playing one of my favorite songs in the rink.
The Wings would go a man down again late, but Detroit’s PK did a pretty solid job denying the Sens access to the zone. The Wings really took advantage of Ottawa’s attempts at making too pretty passes; the got sticks in the lane and repeatedly pushed the puck out to middle ice.
Within the last two minutes, the Senators finally did get the equalized by rotating the puck behind the net. This caused a defensive mismatch and when the puck came out to the top of the circle to Artem Zub, no one was covering him. He fired a quick knuckle puck that went five-hole on Greiss. A bit of a softy. 1-1 Tie.
Ottawa nearly scored again in the finally second, but Greiss did redeem himself with a kick save. Still, the teams entered the locker room with a tie game on their hands. Not bad, but not the result Detroit really wanted.
Score: 1-1 Tie
Shots: 14-6 Sens
Stand Ups: Rasmussen, Vrana, the Penalty Kill
Sit Downs: Greiss
Ottawa came out rejuvenated in the second; in a way, it’s not too terribly surprising the way their energy levels works out. I’ve seen a lot of games where teams are riding high emotions, their play comes out flat, then a third or half way through the game they can refocus and start playing better hockey.
And it worked out well for the Sens; they got the go-ahead goal on the power play by having a really clean zone entry and shuffling the puck very effectively; suddenly, the too-pretty passes of the first were just pretty-enough to split the Detroit defenders and Josh Norris flung it home to make it 2-1 Sens.
Detroit had some decent pushback in the middle of the period, with Zadina getting a nice chance, but Ottawa mostly maintained the advantage in control. After a decent first 20, you could see the game once again slowly slipping away from Detroit. Larkin obviously wasn’t 100%, and without Bertuzzi, and Fabbri out for the season, it was obvious how much bite the team now lacked.
Josh Norris would take advantage of Detroit’s soft play once again and put the Senators up 3-1 after another sequence of strong passes. Detroit just kept playing soft defense and gave Ottawa plenty of space on the ice. Not a lot of challenge from the Wings.
By the end of the period Mick was talking about a tall, cool glass of PBR and 8-tracks. Just one of those days that has become every day for Detroit this late in the season.
Score: 3-1 Sens
Shots: 28-15 Sens
Stand Ups: Mickey’s 8-track collection
Sit Downs: All of the Above?
The third period started pretty slow. Not a whole of action early on, but about five minutes in Detroit started to come alive. Pius Suter, who’d up to this point been having a a pretty invisible afternoon, got a great opportunity and nearly pulled Detroit within a goal. Walman would also get a good shot thanks to some good play by Larkin and Raymond.
Throughout the period the ice tilted ever so slightly in Detroit’s favor, but there just wasn’t the fire on the team that you saw earlier in the year. I guess I ought to give Detroit more credit; they put up nine shots in half a period while limiting Ottawa to three, but the number of dangerous chances were really limited to one or two.
With just under eight minutes left, Hronek hauled the puck through two zones and split the Ottawa defensemen with a nice, clean pass to Larkin. Larkin crossed from one side of the zone to the other and roofed a shot on Forsberg, it’s a one goal game!
A few shifts later, Hirose would get a breakaway and get ridden into the net by the chasing Ottawa defender. Why it’s not a penalty shot is beyond me, but Detroit would at least have the man advantage with about five minutes left.
Detroit looked okay on the power play, but not so good that they actually, you know, scored.
With just under two minutes left in the period, Blash pulled Greiss and called a timeout. It was all for naught, though, as the Sens would establish control off the next draw and Josh Norris would seal the hat trick. 4-2 Sens. Sadface.
Then a final empty netter. 5-2 Sens. Super Sadface.
Score: 5-2 Sens
Shots: 35-32 Sens
Stand Ups: Larkin, Raymond, Seider
Sit Downs: Just.... yeah.
Kind of a seesawing game from Detroit. Decent first period, awful second period, good third period, lose by one goal plus an empty netter. This one really wouldn’t feel so bad in different circumstances, but given the skid, it’s just more bad feelings.
Detroit gets another attempt at winning a hockey game on Tuesday when the Bruins come to town.