Daniel Alfredsson’s homecoming punctuated Detroit’s fourth straight win against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place on Sunday night. It took until the second period for offense to kick in,
The game had an admittedly boring look through the first period, not just for lack of offense, but rather a lack of speed and urgency. Shots were dead even at ten apiece after one, and Detroit led in the scoring chance column by a four to one margin. It took an additional 8:22 into the second period to break the tie, when Johan Franzen sniped a puck past Robin Lehner‘s glove during a two-on-one rush. The goal continued Franzen’s now four game point streak, during which he has seven points. The Mule is flourishing in Pavel Datsyuk‘s absence, and flanking Zetterberg seems to have given him the confidence he needs to be a dominant force in the league. Alfredsson recorded an assist on the play to help bury the hatchet in his former team.
Franzen wasn’t the only player to extend his point streak, as Drew Miller added to Detroit’s lead later in the period, later adding ANOTHER goal to give him three goals in his past two games. Darren Helm and Brendan Smith each recorded beautiful assists on the latter – Helm is also nursing a pretty impressive point streak, and holds a total of ten points in fourteen points on the season. Oh, and in between those goals, Clarke MacArthur scored for Ottawa. I place the blame for it solely on the center, which happened to be much maligned Stephen Weiss. There was a scrum in front that the puck shot out of into the high slot, where MacArthur was literally all alone.
For awhile it looked like the game might end on that note; however, after pulling Robin Lehner the Senators were able to reduce Detroit’s lead by one off a fluky bounce that ended up right on Mika Zibanejad‘s stick, who sent a rocket past Gustavsson. A scary play followed immediately afterward where Kyle Turris made it around Detroit’s defense and would have scored if not for the Monster’s quick glove. But instead, the puck bounced up to Justin Abdelkader, who fed it to who else but the prodigal ‘sson (ugh…horrible pun) Daniel Alfredsson for an empty netter that would end the game.
Especially considering the previous two ugly losses to the Senators, this was a must-win game for Detroit and Alfredsson in particular, who continues to prove that he made the right decision in switching teams. The Wings are now second in the Atlantic division and sit 11 points ahead of the struggling Senators. This is their fourth dominant win in four games, which is even more impressive when you consider Detroit is missing their best player in Pavel Datsyuk, a top three defenseman in Danny Dekeyser, and a vital role player and power forward in Todd Bertuzzi. Hopefully all three players return soon and DON’T MESS UP THE CHEMISTRY AMONG THE FORWARDS WHEN THEY DO. I finally have an idea for how the lines should look when everyone is back:
Line 1: Nyquist – Zetterberg – Franzen
Line 2: Datsyuk – Helm – Alfredsson (or play Helm on the wing)
Line 3: Miller – Andersson – Tatar
Line 4: Abdelkader – Weiss – Bertuzzi
I hate having to give Abby fourth line minutes, but everyone on the depth chart above him is currently outplaying him. That’s not to say I don’t like his game – he’s been dynamite – but this lineup sets the team up for success in the best way possible, and there’s no way he wouldn’t receive at least some powerplay time.
As always, thanks for reading! @rollin_on_D