I will admit, my PVR didn’t function properly, so after I got home and went to watch the game, I was upset. Then I looked at the box score and a small sampling of reactions on twitter, and didn’t feel quite so bad.
The supposedly fresh and relaxed Ottawa Senators looked anything but ready as they dropped a very important match to the team they are chasing for the final playoff spot, and they did so by shooting themselves in the foot. Turnovers were the key to Detroit’s 6-1 victory, and Robin Lehner coudn’t find the answer, allowing all 6 goals on just 15 shots before yielding the net for Andrew Hammond‘s NHL debut. Hammond stopped all 11 shots he faced in relief.
For the Wings, it was Johan Franzen who wielded the big stick, counting 3 times while Tomas Tatar and Tomas Jurco each had a goal and an assist for the Wings. Niklas Kronwall had 3 helpers and Daniel Alfredsson also had an assist in his encore performance at Canadian Tire Centre.
Ottawa actually outshot the Wings 38-26, but couldn’t solve Jonas Gustavsson.
For Lehner, it was another step backwards although he was really hung out to dry on many occasions judging by the highlights, and the new look pairing of Eric Gryba and Jared Cowen looked vastly overpowered in many situations. Both finished -3 on the night.
Ottawa’s lone goal was scored by Bobby Ryan, but it was far too little far too late as it made the score 5-1. Detroit didn’t press in the third, managing only 3 shots, but with a 6-1 lead 25 mintues into the game, why would they. It was an opportunity for Mike Babcock to limit the minutes of the players who played in the Olympics, and also the night before. Pavel Datsyuk played just 11:24, Alfredsson just 14:04, and Franzen (who didn’t go to Sochi but is coming off injury) had his hat trick in just 13:32 of ice time.
Ottawa fell 5 points behind the Wings for the 8th playoff spot and now their hill has become a mountain as they have a lot of ground to make up and time is getting short.
They now embark on a 4 game Western Canada road trip that starts with the Heritage Classic on Sunday in Vancouver. You would have to think that the Senators need to come home with at least 6 or 7 points on that trip to stay in the race.
Time will tell, but with 2 games before the trade deadline, decisions might be made in short order with another performance or two like this one.