Detroit — The Red Wings had a lot of problems with numerous teams this season, but the Ottawa Senators proved particularly troublesome.
The Senators completed the three-game season sweep, all the games in a matter of 11 days, Tuesday with a 4-1 victory.
Ottawa’s Drake Batherson redirected a shot at 15 minutes, 32 seconds of the second period, breaking a 1-1 tie, and Tim Stutzle scored two empty-net goals in the final minute to clinch the outcome.
Tyler Bertuzzi (power play) scored his 27th goal at 11:16 of the second period, tying the game, and seemingly sparking the Wings.
But Batherson redirected a Michael Del Zotto shot from the sideboards past goaltender Thomas Greiss (28 saves), sending the Wings (28-35-10) to another defeat. The Wings have won only twice in the last 10 games (2-5-3).
For the Wings, this game opened the final 10-game segment of the regular season, a stretch that’ll see the Wings played seven games against playoff teams. Ottawa and New Jersey (two games) are the lone teams in the batch of game that aren’t headed to the playoffs.
Ottawa goalie Anton Forsberg stopped 24 shots, as the Senators (27-40-6) ended a three-game losing streak.
After a pair of 5-2 defeats to the Senators over 10 days ago, games in which the Wings were in the midst of struggling in various areas, the Wings were in a better state of mind this time.
“In the first two we didn’t play great, but we could have won either game,” said coach Jeff Blashill after Tuesday’s morning skate. “We were in position going into the third period. We had plenty of chances to win the hockey game.
“I like our game better (Tuesday) than when we went into those games. We’ve shown much better sacrifice, commitment to winning the last three games. Even the last one, losing in overtime (5-4 Saturday against Columbus),the commitment to winning was much better.”
Monday’s practice, also, was spirited and showed the Wings’ competitiveness in these final games.
“When we’re a successful group, that’s what we’re doing,” forward Sam Gagner said. “When you have games and practices where everyone is competing and trying to do their best to win, it gives that much more life and something we want to bring into games.”
The Senators opened the scoring with just five seconds left in the first period.
Ann Arbor native Austin Watson scored his eighth goal, second against the Wings this season, beating Greiss from the hashmark.
Oxford native Josh Norris found Watson trailing on a three-on-three and Watson converted, putting the Senators on the board.
But Bertuzzi tied the game with his 27th goal, on the power play. Moritz Seider’s shot from the point bounded off the end board straight to Bertuzzi at the side of the net. Bertuzzi quickly converted the put back before Forsberg had time to get to the post.
Blashill has been pleased with the way the Wings have responded to recent games, after the long winless streak.
“We’ve taken it on a game to game basis, and at the end of the day, it’s important to be great every day, that’s an approach I’ve always had with any team I’ve coached,” Blashill said. “It’s about showing up and getting better every single day and making the most of every single day. That’s something we’ve tried to focus on here, the commitment to winning, the sacrifice it takes. We’ve been refocused on that and done a good job of that and we expect it to continue through the rest of the season.”