In a matchup that could be a preview of this spring’s Stanley Cup Finals, the Detroit Red Wings’ third-period comeback wasn’t enough as the Western Conference’s leaders fell to the Eastern Conference-leading Ottawa Senators, 3-2.
The Red Wings scored twice in the third period to tie the game but a late Ottawa power play goal gave the Senators the win.
Ottawa got on the board just 1:09 into the game on a power play when Daniel Alfredsson scored on a blast from the blue line.
Mike Fisher put the Senators up by a pair at 3:26 of the second. A Chris Chelios turnover put the puck on the stick of Luke Richardson, who sprung Fisher into the Detroit zone on a 3-on-2. Fisher raced in on goal and put a shot on Red Wings’ netminder Dominik Hasek, then poked the rebound past him.
Detroit began the comeback with a power play goal by Brian Rafalski at 7:46 of the third. Pavel Datsyuk got the puck after coming across the ice to help a two-on-two battle for the puck on the right wing boards. He tapped it along to Rafalski, who jumped in from the blue line for a blast over the glove of Ottawa goaltender Ray Emery.
With 7:54 left in the period, Nicklas Lidstrom fired a shot from the blue line wide of the net and off the back boards. The puck came out high into the left circle and Hudler stepped up to rifle a shot to the top corner of the net.
Alfredsson’s second of the night negated the Detroit comeback. With 2:56 left in the game, Alfredsson’s acute-angle shot from the bottom of the right circle slipped through a Jason Spezza screen and past Hasek for a power play goal.
Hasek finished the night with 29 saves on 32 shots against. Emery made 27 saves on 29 Detroit shots.
Ottawa’s Dany Heatley left the game with a shoulder injury and did not return.