Red Wings forward reflects on all the scoring opportunities he had in the team's 2-1 overtime victory against the Senators, which included a missed penalty shot. Ted Kulfan
Detroit — Andreas Athanasiou didn’t waste any time in overtime.
Athanasiou scored six seconds into overtime Wednesday — finally converting on a breakaway opportunity — and giving the Red Wings a 2-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators.
Athanasiou also scored the Red Wings’ other goal, giving him eight goals for the season. But considering the number of quality chances he had, Athanasiou could have had more goals.
“Something like four breakaways,” said Athanasiou, whose speed was no match for Ottawa. “I was starting to ask guys on the bench what do I do next if I get another one. I just stuck to it and go with what I know and if you keep shooting, one will go in.”
In overtime, Dylan Larkin won the faceoff and the puck squirted to Athanasiou on the wing. Athanasiou sped past Erik Karlsson and broke in on goaltender Craig Anderson.
“It was quick,” said Larkin of overtime. “Double-A did a good job of pressuring Karlsson and surprised him. He did a good job of finally finishing on the breakaway.”
Playing on the wing on Larkin’s line for a third consecutive game, Athanasiou was again a major factor with a game-high seven shots and Larkin utilizing Athanasiou’s speed with flare passes into open ice.
“They both know how to utilize their speed, that’s the biggest thing,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “Double-A trusts that Larks is going to get him the puck, so he skates without the puck into those open areas. For whatever reason, he seems to really trust Larkin is going to lay pucks into those areas and it was time after time tonight.”
It was the third consecutive victory for the Red Wings (16-16-7, 39 points), who continue to inch upward in the Eastern Conference standings.
The Red Wings close out this five-game home stand Friday against Florida and Sunday against Tampa before hitting a five-day break in the schedule.
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“This is the way we have to play,” Larkin said. “We have to play this way to win in this league. There’s going to be tight games like tonight. We have to bring this energy and sense of urgency from here until the end.”
Athanasiou had a chance to break the tie at 10:41 after being awarded a penalty shot.
Athanasiou was dragged down by Dion Phaneuf while breaking in on Anderson, who was game’s best player with 33 saves and was the sole reason Ottawa earned a point in the standings.
But Anderson stopped Athanasiou on the penalty shot, with Jimmy Howard matching the save with a nice stop on Erik Karlsson trailing on a rush moments later.
“We did a lot of great things, a lot of opportunities, and it’s a 1-1 game, but you don’t win that game if that save isn’t made on Karlsson,” Blashill said. “You need elite goaltending to win and Jimmy’s given us that this year.”
Red Wings coach discusses what is clicking for the team during this current upsurge. Ted Kulfan
Ottawa’s Ryan Dzingel tied the game 1-1 just 39 seconds into the third period.
Dzingel stripped Darren Helm of the puck between the hash marks, went down the slot, and beat Howard for his 10th goal.
The Senators (12-17-9, 33 points) didn’t have many highlights Wednesday but one was squashing the majority of a second-period Red Wings' power play after a delayed holding penalty was called on Mike Green.
Ottawa did a masterful job of keeping the puck and killing the Red Wings’ power play.
“After 10 seconds I figured it out,” said Howard, of what the Senators were doing. “It was actually kind of smart.”