The Detroit Red Wings’ losing trend in the month of March continued on Tuesday night against the Ottawa Senators.
Beginning on March 1st, here are the results of every game: Win-Loss-Loss, Win-Loss-Loss, Win-Loss-Loss, Win-Loss-Loss, Win-Loss-Loss, with the latter loss coming against the Sens as Andrew “The Hamburglar” Hammond returned from a brief injury to defeat the Wings.
Prior the game, it was believed that Detroit would be re-gaining three players from injury: Pavel Datsyuk, Riley Sheahan and Erik Cole. However, all three would remained sidelined, meaning that Daniel Cleary would substitute again for Datsyuk.
To make matters worse, forward Drew Miller would take a skate to the face, leaving two deep lacerations on his right eye following a run-in with the skate of Senators forward Mark Stone. Miller immediately skated off the ice and into the dressing room holding his face (no blood fell on the ice) just twelve seconds into the shift. Fortunately for Miller, no damage was done to the eye itself, although the resulting scar goes across his eye. If the skate had cut him any deeper, there is a good chance he would have lost his eye (shudders).
“It’s a scary moment for sure, but at the same time, I think we all found out fairly quick that he was going to be okay,” said Niklas Kronwall. “Of course a nasty gash, but hopefully he’ll be alright.”
Ottawa would dominate the entire contest from start to finish, but Detroit netminder Petr Mrazek continued to make his case for the starter’s job. In the first period the Wings were outshot 13-5, in the second 12-4 and in the third 8-7. You read that correctly. In the first 50 minutes, Detroit had around ten shots. In total, Ottawa fired 67 shots (corsi), 16 of which were blocked and 17 which missed the net. Detroit, on the other hand, registered a measly 33 corsi.
Despite being outshot 3-to-1, Mrazek kept his team in the game and allowed Gustav Nyquist’s goal near the midway point of the second period to be the potential game-winner. Nyquist was the recipient of a Justin Abdelkader drop pass that he then wristed low blocker-side on Hammond.
It appeared as if Detroit was just trying to win 1-0 instead of attempting to add more insurance to the scoreboard. That game plan did not work in their favor, because Clarke MacArthur tied the game with 4:02 to play after his shot deflected off a skate and past Mrazek for the only blemish on his outstanding performance in net.
“Mrazek came up huge for us a few times and really kept us in the game,” said Kronwall. “That’s what he does. He’s been great for us all year.”
Detroit’s 17-shot contest (one overtime shot) marked their lowest regulation and total shots-for number of the season.
In the shootout, the Wings opted to shoot first. Nyquist scored first, followed by an equalizer by Mika Zibanejad. In the second round, Tomas Tatar scored, followed by an equalizer by Kyle Turris. In the third round, both Detroit’s Marek Zidlicky and Ottawa’s Bobby Ryan failed to score. Finally, after Stephen Weiss was unable to solve the Hamburglar, Stone solidified the victory for the Sens.
Despite the shootout loss, Detroit earned an important point (93) after the Boston Bruins defeated the Florida Panthers earlier in the night, moving them to 91.
The good news for the Red Wings? If this trend continues for a sixth consecutive three-game round of Win-Loss-Loss, they should win Thursday against the Bruins.