The Detroit Red Wings entered Saturday’s contest with 32 points which is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division. The Red Wings desperately needed a victory over an Ottawa team that started the year off slow but has been surging of late. Unfortunately, Detroit’s four-game skid has become a five-game skid. The Ottawa Senators pummeled the Red Wings to the tune of 6-3, thanks to some stellar special teams’ play.
Ahead of Saturday afternoon’s game, the Detroit Red Wings received plenty of good news (for once). Captain Dylan Larkin was prepared to return to the lineup following a hand injury suffered a couple of games ago. Larkin took a shot to the hand against the Carolina Hurricanes. Detroit head coach Derek Lalonde tinkered with his lineup ahead of Saturday’s game, putting Andrew Copp on the Red Wings’ top line with Larkin and Lucas Raymond.
Copp took the majority of the faceoffs before shifting to the wing. It’s clear that Larkin’s hand is not 100%, but if he can play without taking the faceoffs for a few games, so be it. The Detroit Red Wings need him in the lineup, especially during this losing skid. Although Jakub Vrana did not play, the Red Wings forward skated with the team on Friday for the first time since stepping aside to tend to a personal matter. Vrana will look to be inserted back into Detroit’s lineup in the near future once he’s back in game shape.
The Red Wings also got Olli Maatta back after missing a slue of games while he was fighting pneumonia. Finally, the Detroit Red Wings got Filip Hronek back after he was leveled by Ryan Reaves a game ago early on in the first period. Hronek was immediately placed in the concussion protocol and was unable to return to the game.
The Detroit Red Wings fall to the Ottawa Senators thanks to some atrocious special teams play.
Following their fifth straight loss, things are beginning to feel bleak surrounding the Detroit Red Wings. We need not overreact, but lately, Detroit is playing like the Red Wings of last season and not the same group we’ve seen for most of the first third of the season.
The Ottawa Senators took this game over with stellar special teams’ play. Ottawa scored three power-play goals, along with two short-handed tallies. One of those short-handed goals came with Detroit having a six-on-four-man advantage down two goals late in the third period. Claude Giroux won the draw, and former Windsor Spitfire forward Austin Watson hit the empty net with a shot deep in his own zone.
The Senators were led by Drake Batherson, who recorded a pair of goals, along with Alex DeBrincat and Brady Tkachuk, who each recorded three assists. Netminder Cam Talbot made 29 saves.
Detroit’s goal scorers were Joe Veleno, Adam Erne, and Filip Hronek. Goaltender Ville Husso made 22 saves in the loss.
Two things that stood out in the Detroit Red Wings’ loss.
Detroit’s special teams are really struggling. The Detroit Red Wings went just 1 for 7 on the power play, allowing two short-handed goals. When you take that lackluster performance from Detroit’s power play and pair it with a penalty kill that killed off just two penalties over five chances, this is the result you can expect.
The other stat that really stood out was Ottawa’s dominance in the faceoff circle. Ottawa won 34 faceoffs to Detroit’s 17. Not having Larkin available to take faceoffs certainly did not help but imagine starting your shift chasing on two-thirds of the shifts. The Detroit Red Wings do not have a right-handed center, and that is something general manager (GM) Steve Yzerman will need to address in the coming months.
Detroit Red Wings defenseman Ben Chiarot really struggled Saturday. Chiarot took two penalties, was a minus -1, and played just a touch over 18 minutes. I mention Chiarot because he’s relied upon to be a force alongside Moritz Seider, but he’s been hot and cold all season long. We are hoping to see some consistency from the veteran defender; when he’s right, he can be a valuable piece moving forward.
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Next up for the Detroit Red Wings are the Washington Capitals on Monday night. Star forward Alex Ovechkin will continue his quest to become the top goal scorer in NHL history. Ovechkin currently sits at 800 career goals, one behind Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe. Bally Sports Detroit will have Mark and Marty Howe on the broadcast.