‘Too many guys looking for offense’: Ottawa completes season sweep of Wings

Detroit News

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.

“We didn’t play right in terms of sometimes you want to win and you start hoping you get the puck, and you cheat for offense a little bit,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “It wasn’t lack of urgency, but not playing the right way in terms of making sure you’re playing from the defensive side and we didn’t have the puck as much.”

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.

“We got the crowd going and start getting into it and then it gets quiet again,” said defenseman Marc Staal of the quick turnaround. “It’s tough to give up momentum after scoring a power-play goal.”

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 games that aren’t headed to the playoffs.

“We have to play some elite teams, but that’s part of playing in the NHL, you have to show up every day, be consistent and have the same work ethic and preparation no matter who you’re playing,” Staal said. “That’s our job.”

Ottawa goalie Anton Forsberg stopped 24 shots, as the Senators (27-40-6) ended a three-game losing streak.

BOX SCORE: Senators 4, Red Wings 1

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.

The goal wasn’t a backbreaker — the Wings were arguably the better team in the second period – but it did put the Wings in a hole on a play that shouldn’t have happened.

“It’s a goal on the board,” Blashill said. “It’s a goal on the board you have to fight to overcome and with 14 seconds left, the puck was behind the net. You can’t give those up.”

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.

More: Red Wings faced with brisk, busy end to regular-season schedule

Blashill has been pleased with the way the Wings have responded to recent games, after the long winless streak and that continued Tuesday.

“We had enough chances in the first, gave up the late goal and that’s disappointing, but in the second (period) we probably had the better shifts,” Blashill said. “In the third, they ground us down, that’s where territorially we played too much defensive-zone coverage, so you’re not creating enough.

“Tonight was not as good as the last few games in terms of stopping on pucks, being strong on the puck. We had too many guys looking for offense.”


Twitter: @tkulfan

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