The Ottawa Senators kicked off their week-long road trip, facing the Detroit Red Wings. A battle of two teams at the bottom of the NHL standings, some early goals for Detroit was enough to earn them the 3-2 victory.
Seeing as the game took place on Valentine’s Day, it’s only appropriate that the two teams are akin to bad relationships, in total opposite yet equally horrible ways. The Sens are the partner who’s cheap and doesn’t like committing to anything, while the Red Wings are the partner who overcommits to everyone even when the bond is harmful.
The result is two extraordinarily mediocre teams, playing some uninspiring hockey. The press box was packed with scouts in Detroit, as both teams could be major sellers ahead of the February 25th trade deadline.
The game started off with a huge scare for Ottawa, as Thomas Chabot left to the dressing room after blocking a shot. Fortunately he returned quickly, and played the rest of the game seemingly unscathed.
The Sens were put on their heels early, as they struggled to gain any form of possession. Ryan Dzingel had an excellent chance where he passed the puck through the crease after he’d deked Jimmy Howard, although the Red Wings consistently managed to recover the puck whenever it left their control.
That would lead to them getting on the board first, with Andreas Athanasiou putting on a display with his incredible speed. Max Lajoie couldn’t contain him on the rush, and all Athanasiou had to do was out-wait Anders Nilsson to give himself the full net to shoot at. He made no mistake, as the Red Wings opened the scoring.
Brady Tkachuk answered soon after to tie the game, on a quick play off an offensive zone faceoff. Taking the draw, Tkachuk won the puck cleanly to Thomas Chabot who fired it towards Howard. It bounced off a few bodies, and Colin White’s stick, before landing in front of Tkachuk with the open net.
The Red Wings were still buzzing, however, and Athanasiou unleashed again with a quick dash on a partial breakaway. He was interfered with, however, earning a penalty shot. His five-hole shot beat Nilsson, regaining the lead for Detroit as the first period came to a close.
The second period was much less eventful — Rudolfs Balcers served a puck-over-glass penalty, although the special teams killed it off handily.
Balcers would redeem his minor penalty, however, setting up the next goal of the game for Ottawa. With the forwards rushing in with possession, Balcers slid a pass to Duchene who was streaking towards the net. Duchene managed to simultaneously fend off the Detroit defender, take a shot, and make it accurate enough to beat Howard cleanly.
Detroit would answer right back, with a brutal giveaway by Dylan DeMelo behind his own net. Darren Helm stole the puck and fed it to Frans Nielsen, with Anders Nilsson having little time to react to a shot he wasn’t anticipating. Detroit maintained their 3-2 lead heading into the third period.
The final twenty started off on a physical note, with Niklas Kronwall delivering a big hit on Balcers, with Mark Stone taking exception. The hit was deemed clean, with Balcers not suffering any sort of injury.
The next set of exciting moments came during the Sens power play, with Trevor Daley off for hooking. Luke Glendening had a prime shorthanded chance off a Sens giveaway, which Nilsson stopped. Despite that, this was still probably Ottawa’s best power play of the game, getting pucks in front and tangling up the Red Wings defence.
Time winded down, and the Sens’ goalie pull didn’t increase the pressure enough. The scoreless third period led to a 3-2 win for Detroit.
- While many spent the night making love, Brady Tkachuk was making hate, fighting Jonathan Ericsson in the first period.
- Tkachuk in general had a very dominant game, as he, White and Stone formed a dominant top line.
- Athanasiou was the Sens killer.
- Something could be brewing between Ottawa and Winnipeg. Two Jets scouts were in attendance for this game, while Pierre Dorion and AGM Peter MacTavish were in Winnipeg to take in the Jets game against Colorado. The Sens travel to Winnipeg tomorrow to play them on Saturday./
The road trip moves to Winnipeg, facing the Jets on Saturday at 7:00 p.m.
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