It was Daniel Alfredsson’s night. Win or lose, it was always going to be that way. The night put the spotlight on his family, with his parents, wife, brother, sister, and children all there. There were speeches by his brother Henric, and by his former teammate Wade Redden. A highlight video showed clips of big goals, hitting Darcy Tucker, and comments from many player in the organization. Everyone emphasized his work in trying to end the stigma around mental illness. They all celebrated his drive to work, and the fact that he always led by example. It was nothing flashy, but it didn’t need to be. He was never a flashy guy, and it honoured the biggest legend (so far) in franchise history.
It was clear early on that the Red Wings weren’t going hang back just because it was Alfie’s night. They opened the scoring on what looked like a soft goal at first glance but turned out to be well-worked. Brendan Smith fired a slapshot from the point flat on the ice, setting up an easy tip opportunity for Thomas Vanek.
It looked like the Sens might exit the period down by a goal, but Mark Stone had other ideas. With just 17 seconds left in the period, his tenacious forecheck allowed Mike Hoffman to scoop up a loose puck and feed Derick Brassard for a surprise goal. Many were worried about the practice line of Pyatt-Brassard-Stone before the game started, but thankfully Guy Boucher was worried too, because he switched Hoffman for Pyatt to start the game.
The second period started out better for the Sens. This time the goal five minutes in came for the Sens. Brassard fed Stone from behind the net, and he made no mistake on a quick snap shot, and then celebrated like it was the biggest goal of his life (as Stone does). But halfway through the period, the Wings would tie it up. Henrik Zetterberg showed he still has his hockey IQ, spotting Tomas Tatar in position for a breakaway pass and putting it right on his stick. Tatar would go on to score on the breakaway. That also did it for scoring in the second, setting up an important third.
The third period would start with the Sens on the penalty kill, a theme that continued for the first half of the period. However, the Wings continued their season-long futility on the powerplay, failing to generate much at all. They then seemed content to just play for OT, repeatedly gaining centre and putting the puck deep. And OT they got.
Overtime wasn’t great for the Sens. They took possession off the opening faceoff, but didn’t really do anything before giving it up rather cheaply. Detroit would then take over from there. Just over a minute in, Bobby Ryan made a rather soft attempt to flip the puck out of the zone, but Niklas Kronwall held it in. Then he faked the shot, and hit a wide-open Anthony Mantha with a pass in front. Mike Condon had set up for the initial shot, so he was way out of place and Mantha had an easy goal to win the game.
Honourable Mention: Mark Stone
Stone was the the Sens’ best player, credited with one point but really deserving too. He’s always causing turnovers, making smart passes, and pumping up everybody with his ridiculous celebrations.
Dishonourable Mention: Bobby Ryan
He gets an honourary assist on the game-winner, which mostly means he made a mistake at the worst possible time.