Michael Rasmussen talks about his penalty shot attempt in the third period. The Detroit News
Kanata, Ontario — This time there was no third-period rally, as there has been often during the recent winning streak.
And the Red Wings paid for it, losing 2-1 to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night.
The loss ended a four-game winning streak for the Red Wings, who have won seven of their last nine.
“We weren’t good enough to win tonight,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “We had opportunities we could have done more with, and that’s why we lost.”
BOX SCORE: Senators 2, Red Wings 1
Lost, even though for a moment, it appeared a legendary figure was back on the Red Wings roster.
When a penalty was called on forward Wade Megan in the first period, the public address announcer originally said it was on No. 9 — which of course was Gordie Howe’s number.
“I started laughing,” goaltender Jimmy Howard said. “That was a little weird.”
Said coach Jeff Blashill: “We caught that. We weren’t sure if Gordie was coming back.”
Niklas Kronwall on the Red Wings' win streak ending The Detroit News
The Wings could have used Howe on a variety of levels. But truthfully, the Wings (8-9-2) looked better in long stretches than in some victories during the win streak.
“We played good hockey overall,” Blashill said. “I talked about being relentless and not taking your foot off the gas, we can be better. We had chances to be better. We have to make sure we’re better.”
Michael Rasmussen scored the Wings goal. Both Andreas Athanasiou and Rasmussen had penalty shots in the third period, with the Wings trailing 2-1, and were stopped by Craig Anderson.
Both goalies were very good, with Howard and Anderson each stopping 34 shots.
“Chalk that one up to Anderson,” Howard said. “He played great. They played extremely aggressive on the forecheck and they were able to hold us off.
“We had opportunities but either Anderson was there or we missed the net. He made two great saves on the penalty shots, and that’s the game.”
Ottawa grabbed a 2-1 lead at 5:47 of the second period on rookie Drake Batherson's first NHL goal — in his first NHL game.
Senators forward Matt Duchene won the draw and got the puck to Batherson, who cruised through the slot and snapped a shot that Howard didn't get a good look at.
The Wings were 0-for-2 on the power play, and killed 3-of-4 Senators power plays.
“It comes down to the power play,” Blashill said. “We had a chance to do something in the second period but we were no good on it and that’s unacceptable to me. That’s the whole difference.
“Our PK did a good job, They’re going to score some goals, they have a good power play. When we had power-play chances to make a difference, we didn’t make a difference.”
The Senators were expected to be, frankly, the worst team in the league this season after trading away star defenseman Erik Karlsson and other valuable pieces of the lineup, going to a huge youth movement.
It hasn’t happened yet.
The Senators have been a mild surprise (8-8-3, leaping past the Wings in the division standings), and have been one of the more exciting teams in the league to watch.
“They played well, no doubt,” Kronwall said. “They made it hard to get in the middle, good for them. But we have to do a better job of fighting through that.”
One final setback for the Wings: a snowstorm in Ottawa forced them to stay overnight. They’ll practice Friday in Ottawa and fly to New Jersey in the afternoon.
“I’m a big believer in rolling with the punches,” Blashill said. “You just have to figure it out.”