Sloppy play stymies Red Wings in 6-3 loss to Senators

Detroit News

Detroit — The Detroit Red Wings were down a goal at home and going on a power play in the third period. Who would have thought the Ottawa Senators had them right where they wanted them?

As it has so many times over a losing streak that on Saturday afternoon reached five games, the Red Wings came up short in a crucial third period, giving up three special-teams goals in the third period — and a total of five in the game — as the last-place Senators rolled to a 6-3 win at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.

The Red Wings (13-11-6) scored 2:32 into the game but were counterpunched at every opportunity, allowing the Senators to double them up after entering the third period tied 3-3. Ottawa (14-14-2) was 3-for-5 on the power play and Detroit 1-for-7. The Red Wings gave up two short-handed goals and one power-play goal in the third to go along with Senators power-play goals in each of the first and second period.

“I don’t know if it was so much them taking the special teams (over), it was just execution on our part,” Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde said. “The PK, it’s really disappointing, because two of the three goals are literally from our stick to their stick, broken plays, back of the net. Not a lot of structure to that, it’s just poor execution, not getting a clear.”

Drake Batherson scored twice for the Senators, Farmington Hills native Alex Debrincat had three assists and Brady Tkachuk had two. Joe Veleno, Adam Erne and Filip Hronek scored for Detroit.

The only positive development to come out of Saturday’s game for the Red Wings was who was playing: Dylan Larkin (hand) returned to the lineup after blocking a shot against Carolina early in the week, as did Filip Hronek (head) and Olli Mattaa (illness). But with Larkin nursing an ailing hand, the Wings suffered badly in the faceoff circle. Ottawa won 63% of the game’s draws and made Detroit pay for it — especially on the power play.

Entering Saturday’s game, the Red Wings had given up power-play goals in three straight games — without scoring any of their own in eight chances over that span.

“I think teams are starting to really get a sense of what works against us, and we’re having trouble with — we call ’em sifters from the top — the puck’s just being floated in to create chaos, and then the chaos kinda gets us out of our structure,” Larkin said.

“When that’s happening right now, we’ve gotta find a way to take a deep breath and kinda sort it out quicker than we are. We’re letting one thing happen and then we kinda get off our routes, and then a lot of things open up for the (opposing) power play.

“So it starts with winning faceoffs and clearing 200 feet. That didn’t happen tonight, but we have to really stick to our routes and be predictable, so the other three guys on the ice know what you’re doing.”

Detroit took a 1-0 lead just 2:32 into the game, and the Senators and Red Wings exchanged blows throughout the first period, entering the intermission tied 2-2 despite the Wings holding a 13-7 shots advantage.

“The problem is, when you take a couple undisciplined penalties, then you add in an unlucky penalty, maybe and just a regular penalty, now you’re into that four, five, six range,” Lalonde said. “We had seven tonight. So, it just starts with some discipline.”

Elmer Soderblom dumped the puck back in and Dominik Kubalik retrieved a puck in the corner and quickly fed it to Veleno for a quick shot that beat Cam Talbot through the wickets for a 1-0 lead, Veleno’s fourth of the season.

BOX SCORE: Senators 6, Red Wings 3

Batherson fired a soft shot over the shoulder of Red Wings goalkeeper Ville Husso, who stopped 22 of 27 shots, at 12:47 and Adam Erne deflected a shot from Jake Walman off his chest — Erne’s fifth goal and Walman’s first point this season — and into the goal at 14:56.

“I think early in the year we were getting the big save at the right time, the big kill, the big goal. Right now, it’s not happening for us,” Larkin said. “We have to find a way to get that back, whether it’s someone scoring a big goal, or big hit or big fight that changes the game. Whatever it may be, whatever you bring to the lineup, we need to have more of that.”

Veleno then took a penalty late in the opening frame, opening the door for Ottawa’s fifth-ranked power play to go to work and tie the score yet again. Thomas Chabot fired a shot through bodies that found its way past Husso at 18:42.

Red Wings defenseman Filip Hronek, third on the team in points entering Saturday, ended a four-game point drought with his seventh goal of the season. With the Wings on a 5-on-3, Hronek fired an equalizer over the shoulder of Talbot to tie the score at 3-3 at 12:14 in the second and give the Red Wings their first power-play goal in four games.

In a physical third period, Ottawa found an edge on the power play at 8:14. With chaos brewing in front of Husso, Brady Tkachuk worked the puck between his legs to find a wide-open Giroux for a 4-3 lead. At 12:48, the Senators counterattacked on a Wings power play and took the wind out of Detroit’s sails with Tyler Motte’s third goal of the season.

The Red Wings went on another power play with just over three minutes to go, but with Husso pulled, Austin Watson added insult to injury with his team’s second shorthanded goal of the period.

Twitter: @nolanbianchi

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