Mrazek outstanding again as Wings top Senators

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — Petr Mrazek’s lead among some of the league’s goaltending statistics will continue for another few days.

Mrazek did nothing to damage his NHL-best goals-against average and save percentage — in fact, he helped them both — with another great performance as the Red Wings defeated Ottawa, 3-1, on Wednesday night.

Mrazek stopped 22 shots and only allowed Zack Smith’s power-play goal at 17 minutes 36 seconds of the third period, which brought drama late to the game.

BOX SCORE: Red Wings 3, Senators 1

But the Red Wings held on, with Darren Helm scoring into an empty net at 18:49, as the Red Wings won their third consecutive game on this current five-game home stand.

“It would have been nice (to get the shutout) but we got two points and it was huge points,” Mrazek said. “They were chasing us (in the standings), so this gives us breathing room.

“I’m just trying to work hard and stay positive and stop as many pucks as I can.”

It’s been an outstanding stretch of hockey for Mrazek, who won the starting job over Jimmy Howard last month and has thrived with the increased workload.

Mrazek lowered his NHL-best GAA to 1.94 and raised his save percentage to .934, while also earning his 21st victory (21-10-4).

“He’s definitely brought us confidence," Helm said. "He’s won a couple of games, for sure.”

Danny DeKeyser and Henrik Zetterberg added goals.

DeKeyser took a Dion Phaneuf slapshot to his right knee just 45 seconds into the third period, as the Red Wings were killing off a Senators power play.

DeKeyser stayed down on the ice for a short time, in obvious pain, then gingerly skated off the ice and into the locker room.

Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said DeKeyser is day-to-day with a bruise.

“It’s not a break by any means, but a bruise and it was sore; it hit in a spot that will be painful,” Blashill said. “He’ll be day to day. We’ll see (Thursday) where it’s at but he couldn’t put any weight on it to finish the game.”

The Red Wings also got another outstanding effort from the penalty kill, which killed 6-of-7 Ottawa power plays including a two-man Senators advantage for 27 seconds early in the third period.

“We’ve talked it about a lot, how we want to have a great penalty kill, it’s real important as we head down the stretch,” Blashill said. “I really liked our game, we did a lot of good stuff. We took too many penalties, especially in the third period, but we did a lot of good things are some nights are like that.

“But in the end, the PK won the game.”

Zetterberg’s goal in the third period gave the Red Wings an insurmountable cushion with the way Mrazek was playing.

Pavel Datsyuk was hauled to the ice, a delayed penalty was called, but Datsyuk was able to pass the puck to Zetterberg while falling to the ice.

Zetterberg drove to the net and flipped a shot over goalie Craig Anderson, his 10th goal, at 2:01.

“Early in the season we didn’t find that second goal,” Blashill said. “We found a way to get that second goal and that’s a big thing. That has to help with confidence as well.”

A good majority of the game’s action occurred in the opening three minutes of the game.

Ottawa’s Smith whistled a shot that dinged the goalpost within the game’s first minute, another sign of puck luck for Mrazek.

“That was a nice shot, it hit the post, it woke me up,” Mrazek said. “I was lucky it hit the post but it counts.”

The Senators put five shots on Mrazek in the opening three minutes and appeared to catch the Red Wings flat-footed.

But as can be the case in hockey, the Red Wings suddenly and innocently changed the tide of the game on DeKeyser’s shot, their first shot of the game.