Just when it looked like the Detroit Red Wings may have figured out how to end their woes on home ice, they managed to take a step backwards on Saturday night.
Detroit’s discipline came unraveled amidst a chippy game against the Ottawa Senators, one that featured a steady stream of minor calls on both teams and a relatively rare fight. Despite two power play goals of their own, the Red Wings committed too many infractions when it mattered most, and they fell 4-2 to the Sens at Joe Louis Arena.
Trailing 2-1 entering the third period, the Red Wings quickly went on a 5-on-3 power play when Mark Borowiecki was called for tripping Pavel Datsyuk just 29 seconds into a carry-over call against Jason Spezza. Datsyuk himself made the visitors pay, catching a lucky break when his cross-ice pass deflected off a defenseman’s skate and past Robin Lehner for his 12th tally of the season.
Gustav Nyquist set up a terrific chance for Tomas Tatar seconds later, but the Senators quickly went on their own two-man advantage thanks to a hooking call on Darren Helm and a double minor on Kyle Quincey for high-sticking Zack Smith. Bobby Ryan scored at the 3:51 mark on a one-timer set up by Erik Karlsson, a goal that would prove to be the game-winner.
The Red Wings appeared to tie the game the next time they went on a 5-on-3 power play, but the call was correctly made that Johan Franzen had gloved the puck into the net. Clarke MacArthur’s second goal of the game at the 15:58 mark — on, you guessed, it, the power play — put the Sens up two, and any hope of a late comeback was squashed by slashing calls on Nyquist and Jimmy Howard.
Helm scored the other Detroit goal, while Chris Neil added a first period score for the visitors. Neil was also involved in a long, competitive fight against Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith halfway through the second period.
Despite switching back to one of his older masks, Howard took his seventh consecutive loss. He hasn’t won at the Joe since October 12th, and he won’t be in net Sunday when the Wings travel to Buffalo. Lehner recorded the win for the Senators, standing strong during an early game barrage that saw the hosts outshoot his team 8-0 in the game’s opening minutes.
The game was over when:
The Red Wings lost their composure. Yes, it was a game that featured lots of stickwork and extracurricular activity, and the Senators took just as many minor penalties. But the timing of Detroit’s calls hurt the most, especially the Quincey high stick and the infractions to close out the game that ensured there wasn’t even a chance to pull Howard for an extra skater.
The unsung Red Wings hero was:
Let’s go with Drew Miller. He was called upon often to help kill penalties, and he did his usual shot-blocking, harassing best. His 7:10 of shorthanded ice time was more than anyone but Jonathan Ericsson.