A poor defensive effort against a team desperate for their first victory in five games led the Red Wings to a 5-2 loss against the Ottawa Senators.
The game started well enough for Detroit. An early Ottawa penalty to Peter Schaefer for goaltender interference against Curtis Joseph led to the first goal of the game. Chris Chelios made a surprising deke around an Ottawa player along the right boards and got the puck back to Igor Larionov at the blue line. Larionov passed across to Brett Hull at the left faceoff circle, and Hull fired a hard one-time shot that flew into the net past goaltender Patrick Lalime.
A defensive lapse allowed the Senators to tie the game less than a minute later. Wade Redden got the puck to Magnus Arvedson in the left corner of the Detroit zone. No one covered Arvedson, and he was able to skate out to the front of the net, shoot the puck at Joseph, get his own rebound, and put the puck in for the goal.
Ottawa took the lead early in the second period. Brad Smyth managed to angle around Jiri Fischer and get the shot away while losing his balance. Joseph was slow to drop, and the puck slid into the net under his blocker.
Detroit made their best offensive effort of the game in the second period, but Lalime made several very strong stops to keep the Senators in front. Shaun Van Allen increased the lead towards the end of the period. Petr Schastlivy stole the puck from Max Kuznetsov by sneaking up behind him and pulling the puck back between his skates. The puck flipped over to Van Allen in front of the net, and Joseph didn’t have much of a chance to stop the shot.
The Red Wings had their best chance to get back into the game midway through the third period. Hull drew three Senators towards him before threading a pass to the net so Henrik Zetterberg could tip it in for a shorthanded goal. Unfortunately, Ottawa scored on that power play just seconds later. Schastlivy got the puck near the net, and just kept banging away at it until it went in.
Todd White put the game away for the Senators by flipping the puck into the net after a bad turnover by Sergei Fedorov in the Red Wings’ zone.
The Senators’ tight defense allowed the Red Wings to get only twenty-two shots against Lalime. The Red Wings allowed the Senators to get thirty-four shots against Joseph.
The Red Wings will travel home after tonight’s game to face the Dallas Stars on Sunday evening at Joe Louis Arena.