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Weiss perks up with 2 goals in Wings' win over Sens

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — Stephen Weiss probably earned some good news like this.

After all the injuries, frustration of not playing, criticism of his performance after signing a big free agent contract, after all the sitting and waiting for a chance to play — good karma was surely headed his way.

Weiss got into the lineup Monday — only his second game this season (Oct. 18, the other) and scored two goals as the Red Wings defeated Ottawa 4-3.

Ottawa forward Mike Hoffman scored with 34.3 seconds left in the game, cutting the Red Wings' lead to 4-3.

But the Red Wings, who had a season-high 43 shots on net, held on and made Weiss' night the big story.

Satisfying can't even begin to describe it for Weiss, who only played 26 games last season before a sports hernia surgery ended it.

"This is the best league in the world, and it's hard enough when you're in a groove and doing well, never mind when you miss so many games," Weiss said. "It felt good to be in the lineup and get a couple of goals, nice to get the win. But I still have a lot of work to do."

A groin injury in his first period of play during a conditioning assignment in Grand Rapids Oct. 29 further delayed the start to this season. He was only able to get into one game against Toronto in October before then.

Weiss finally got back on the ice the last couple weeks, and was able to play back-to-back games for Grand Rapids this past weekend — scoring a goal in each game.

Obviously carrying that hot streak into Joe Louis Arena Monday Weiss — playing on the wing on a line with Darren Helm and Tomas Jurco, not his usual position — scored twice in the second period, extending what had been a 2-1 Red Wings lead and scoring his first goals at Joe Louis Arena as a Red Wing.

"I hadn't scored in this building, I thought about that today, and thought why not go and get the first one and get it over with," Weiss said.

A healthy Weiss would add scoring, which the Red Wings envisioned when they signed him as an unrestricted free agent.

"Not everyone can score," coach Mike Babcock said. "(Weiss) found a way to chip it in twice and lots of guys can play lots of games and never get it into the net.

"He has scored 60 points a ton of time in the league and that doesn't happen by accident. Scoring is scoring and not many guys can do that. We acquired him because we thought he could help us score."

Gustav Nyquist and Riley Sheahan added power-play goals for the Red Wings.

The victory was the third in four games for the Red Wings (11-5-5, 27 points), who moved five points head of Ottawa (9-7-4, 22 points) in the Atlantic Division standings.

Kyle Turris (power play) and Erik Karlsson added the other Senators goals.

Turris opened the game's scoring with his fourth goal.

With the Senators enjoying a two-man advantage, Turris found an open lane and blistered a shot past Jimmy Howard at 5:19.

But the Red Wings tied it before the end of the period with their own power play goal.

Senators goalie Craig Anderson made the stop on Henrik Zetterberg's shot but lost track of the puck.

Nyquist slapped at it near the hashmarks, and beat an unsuspecting Anderson for his team-leading 10th goal at 16:45.

The Red Wings pushed their lead to 2-1 on Sheahan's power play goal early in the second period.

Sheahan's goal gave the Red Wings their sixth two power play goal game in their last 12 games.

"We're doing a better job of getting the puck to the net and getting into the goalie's eyes," said Sheahan of the recent power-play success. "We've been getting the puck to the net and good bounces have been happening for us."

After both teams failed to capitalize on abbreviated power plays, Weiss scored his first goal since Oct. 14, 2013.

Weiss drove to the net after Kyle Quincey lifted a shot on net. During a scramble in front, Weiss poked a loose puck past Anderson for his first goal, at 13:34 of the second period.

A little over four minutes later, Weiss had his second goal.

Again driving to the net, Weiss put back a rebound off Helm's shot past Anderson at 13:34 of the third period.

The goal also happened to be the 400th point of Weiss' NHL career.

"It's a funny game you get a couple of breaks in Grand Rapids and get a couple of goals, and it snowballs," Weiss said. "It feels good, it's been a while and what makes it even more special with the two points hanging for a big win."