Red Wings goalie talks about the difficulty of generating odd-man rushes against the Senators in Thursday night's 3-1 loss. Ted Kulfan, Detroit News
Ottawa, Ontario — This wasn’t exactly the best way to a start an important four-game trip for the Red Wings.
Hoping to get off to a positive start against the sturdy, impressive Ottawa Senators, the Red Wings didn’t generate enough offense Thursday in a 3-1 loss.
This was almost a textbook way how Ottawa wins. Get a lead, slow the pace of the game down, and make it difficult offensively for the opponent.
For too much of the evening, the Red Wings just didn’t get enough offense.
“How well they executed,” said goaltender Jimmy Howard (27 saves), as what stood out in the loss. “Just clogging everything up in the neutral zone. We started to get through the neutral zone a little bit (in the third period).
“They’re one of the teams that sits back and play a 1-3-1 and it’s tough to generate anything. They’re one of the few (teams) that play that way, so it’s tough to generate odd-man rushes. It’s an effective way for them to play.”
Senators goals from Mark Stone and Alexandre Burrows (power play) put the Senators ahead, and forced the Red Wings to play catch-up hockey.
“We want to be a fast team, we have a lot of guys who can skate, and they really want to slow it down and make it tough in the neutral zone,” forward Dylan Larkin said. “At times, we didn’t execute well in the neutral zone.”
Anthony Mantha cut the lead to 2-1 with a power-play goal, his sixth goal of the season, at 16:37 of the third period.
Mantha, in front, deflected a Mike Green shot from the top of the slot, with the Red Wings on a 6-on-4 advantage after coach Jeff Blashill pulled Howard for the extra attacker.
The Red Wings put added pressure in the final minute, again with Howard pulled, but Senators forward Nate Thompson scored into an empty net with 10 seconds left to end the scoring.
“We had chances early and late but you have to score, you have to find a way,” Blashill said. “That’s the league, it’s like this every single night. We have to find a way, we’re going to help ourselves by scoring more.”
Red Wings coach talks about the team's struggles in Thursday's 3-1 loss to the Senators. Ted Kulfan, Detroit News
For Blashill, the difference in the game was about a 9-minute span midway in the second period.
“We bogged ourselves down, we didn’t get the puck out of our zone and we played too much defensive zone coverage,” Blashill said. “We didn’t skate enough in the second (period).”
Senators goalie Craig Anderson stopped 24 shots.
The Red Wings (6-7-1, 13 points) saw their modest two-game win streak end, while now heading to western Canada to finish off the four-game, week-long road trip.
“There’s no room for error,” Blashill said. “You help yourself if you score early, which we didn’t. This is the league every night. It’s going to be like this, they’re going to be tight games, and you have to find a way to come out on top.”
Ottawa (6-2-5, 17 points) snapped a scoreless game late in the first period, another untimely Red Wings goal to allow with a period ending.
Stone found a rebound of Mike Hoffman’s shot off the blade of Mantha’s stick and snapped a shot through traffic just outside Howard’s crease, and into the net, with 54 seconds left in the first period.
The goal was Stone’s eighth of the season, and put the Red Wings into an unwanted hole.
“That’s a tough goal to give up, it’s a momentum goal,” Blashill said. “We won a challenge (overturned apparent Ottawa goal), we get through the first, and it’s tough to give up any goal. They’re tough to come by.”
Red Wings captain talks about the team's struggles in its 3-1 loss to the Senators. Ted Kulfan, Detroit News