Detroit — You keep waiting for the Red Wings to break loose, to show the firepower everyone expected they would have.
But thus far in the young season, the waiting continues.
It just hasn’t materialized. And the Red Wings are looking like an average hockey team.
Friday was more of the same against Ottawa, as the Senators won the opener of the back-to-back weekend set 3-1.
Losing has become a familiar feeling for the Red Wings (4-5-1), who have lost six of their last seven (1-5-1).
“I don’t know what else to say,” perplexed captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “We’re talking about it. We’re trying to do the right things. Keep it simple, get pucks in, stay in their end. But it is frustrating.
“After the first three games, (it’s gone) downhill pretty fast. We have bits and pieces where we’re showing what we can do. But our lowest level has to be way higher than this.”
Ottawa goalie Andrew Hammond, last season’s second-half hero for the Senators, stopped 29 shots and received plenty of help from teammates who blocked 13 shots.
Hammond’s best save in the third period, with the Senators clinging to a one-goal lead, was a goal-mouth stop on a driving Justin Abdelkader, who redirected a pass from Zetterberg.
The Red Wings pulled goalie Jimmy Howard with under three minutes left and had decent pressure against Hammond, but couldn’t score.
Then, with 55 seconds left, Bobby Ryan netted an empty-net goal, his third goal of the season, to close out the scoring.
“In large parts we worked harder but we didn’t get enough accomplished,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “We still have to be better. There was a want and will but we still have to be more determined.”
Howard had 32 saves for the Red Wings, including a glove save on Alex Chiasson with just under four minutes left that kept it a one-goal deficit for the Red Wings.
The Senators (5-3-2) have won two sraight after going winless in four.
Zetterberg (power play) scored for the Red Wings.
Kyle Turris and Matt Puempel had Senators goals.
“We’re not generating enough goals,” said forward Gustav Nyquist, who led the Red Wings with seven shots. “Through 10 games it’s been like that most of the time. Other guys (besides Zetterberg’s line) have to step up.”
Zetterberg cut the Ottawa lead to 2-1 with his third goal.
With the Red Wings enjoying a two-man advantage, Zetterberg put back Teemu Pulkkinen’s shot — which was blocked, with the puck squirting to Zetterberg near the dot at the 17 minute mark.
Until Zetterberg’s goal, the Red Wings power play had struggled again to generate of any threat at all. It was 1-for-5 overall.
“The power play needs to be better,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “We just have to get more pucks to the net, that’s the biggest thing.
Both Ottawa goals were the result of Senators players getting to the net and out-battling the Red Wings for position.
“We talk about owning each crease and we didn’t tonight,” Blashill said. “They scored two net-front goals and we didn’t get to the net. Not good enough.”