A youthful show of strength on offense gave the Red Wings a huge victory at the Canadian Tire Centre Monday night. Tomas Tatar saved his team in overtime with a marksman shot at 2:04 into 3 on 3 that beat the Ottawa Senators 4-3.
A switch in the lineup is what the Red Wings hope improves their offense as they sit on a two game losing streak. With Pavel Datsyuk back in the lineup, the previous set up didn’t produce goals, which in turn has them dropping in the standings. The Magic man moves down into the second line to play with Dylan Larkin and Tatar. Through a quarter of the season, Detroit has lost eight games and sit three points behind the Senators who they meet for a third time. Getting back to winning is the Red Wings main focus and would hope to produce well on the night.
After nine minute of the opening period, the two teams started to feel out each other but didn’t open the throttle on offense. They went after one another testing out the defenses. Detroit’s second line got their time net with Danny DeKeyser making the move for the Red Wings. He found Larkin open who went in on the stick side of Craig Anderson scoring behind him for his fifth this season.
The Red Wings made it 2-0 with help from Mike Green leading the way into the Senators zone. He began the puck’s movement to the right ending with Gustav Nyquist who scored his seventh with an unassisted wrister. Just when they though things were in control, the Red Wings got called on a holding penalty to Larkin opening the power play for the Senators.
Detroit played well on the PK nearly taking care of the advantage for Ottawa when a chance came to life. Mike Hoffman scored his fifth of the year on a drive from far back that went through traffic and behind Jimmy Howard who was back in net since Nov. 13. Despite allowing the goal, they maintained control of the score through the last four minutes of the first. Both took eight shots against one another with Ottawa improving better on the faceoff winning 13 of 21.
The start of the second had Detroit giving the Senators a second power play but they worked the PK before gaining the advantage with their first of the night. It didn’t work well as the Senators earned their first penalty kill returning the game to even strength. It was like that for a large part of the second with the Red Wings trying to throw their offense into a higher gear. Contributing was Datsyuk who was looking to score his first of the season. He earned plenty of chances in the Ottawa zone but couldn’t notch one.
For Detroit, it was the youngsters still leading the way for the team as they went in for the attack with four minutes left. A shot from the far end by Green went off Anderson bouncing high in the air with Luke Glendening slapping the puck away with a high stick. It was nearly the move that cost the Red Wings but Riley Sheahan’s wrister on the possession gave him his third to give Detroit a two-goal lead. Detroit finished the period strong shooting 13 shots against the Senators while allowing them seven.
The third period opened with the Senators hot off the faceoff showing signs of competition in the final twenty minutes of play. Three minutes went by with the Senators making their way into the Detroit zone. Senators defenseman Chris Wideman made it a one goal game with his drive from far back hitting the top shelf to score his third of the season. From then on it was a fight to the finish with the Senators looking for the tying goal while the Red Wings did everything in their power to prevent it.
It looked like they would with three minutes to go but a stunning effort from the Senators worked in their favor. Bobby Ryan made his way through the neutral zone where he stole the puck on a transition between Red Wings players going in all alone on Howard to score the tying goal and his seventh. The score held up in the remaining 2:48 of regulation to send it to 3 on 3 where Datsyuk would make his debut.
He, the captain and Niklas Kronwall started the time but they were not on ice to finish it. Once again it was the young group of Red Wings that gave them a much needed win. A pass from Nyquist to Tatar ended with a breakaway where the 24 year old sniped a shot on the low side to score his fifth and the victory for Detroit. “Gus made a hell of a play,” Tatar said of his line mate to Fox Sports Detroit’s John Keating. “He threw the puck at me and I had a breaker and I had decided to shoot at the blocker and there it was.”
When asked about the importance of winning in overtime Tatar had an analysis of his team rather than himself. “At first I thought we were playing really defensive hockey,” said Tatar. “We let them tie the game and it can happen to us but were fortunate to get the two points but it was harder than it should be.” The Senators had their eyes set on a comeback after scoring two goals in the third, but Detroit’s need for a victory trumped them in the end.
It ended their two game losing streak and a trip back home where another match against the Washington Capitals would await them on Wednesday.