Emmerton’s Two Points Help Red Wings Past Senators in Opener

Rookie Cory Emmerton made his case for staying in the Detroit lineup Friday night, notching a goal and an assist as the Red Wings rolled to a 5-3 win over the visiting Ottawa Senators.

Drew Miller also scored two points with a pair of assists as the fourth liners led Detroit in scoring.

Todd Bertuzzi opened the game’s scoring with 3:59 remaining in the first period. On a botched Ottawa line change, Bertuzzi got in behind the defense at the Senators blue line. Jakub Kindl drew attackers to him inside the Detroit zone and then sent the puck to Darren Helm. Helm fired a perfectly-placed outlet pass to Bertuzzi, who broken in all alone on goalie Craig Anderson, snapping a shot over his glove.

Bertuzzi helped make it 2-0 just 1:39 into the second when he forced a turnover by putting pressure on Chris Phillips behind the Senators’ goal. Phillips’ attempted pass was picked off by Lidstrom near the top of the left faceoff circle and he drove to the net, flipping a shot through Anderson.

Emmerton’s goal was the Red Wings; third of the night. Miller sent the puck from behind the net out to Emmerton just above the top of the crease, where he knocked it home at 9:40 of the middle period.

Jiri Hudler made it 4-0 just 58 seconds later. Pavel Datsyuk stole the puck at the Ottawa blue line and moved it on to Hudler, who broke in on Anderson and put a shot over his glove.

Ian White scored his first goal as a Red Wing to round out Detroit’s scoring. At 3:12 of the third period, White’s slapper from the point found its way through traffic and past Anderson to make it 5-0.

The Senators got on the board 2:37 later, when a Jason Spezza shot bounced off the skate of Milan Michalek and flipped over Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard, dropping into the net.

On a power play at 8:22 of the third, Michalek and Spezza caught the Detroit defense flat-footed to make it 5-2. Racing into the zone, the pair forced a two-on-one and Spezza got the puck across to Michalek, who was all alone in front of the goal and backhanded a shot past Howard.

Filip Kuba added another power play goal with 1:31 remaining, firing a shot from the point that snuck through traffic to beat Howard.

The Senators finished the night two-for-three on the power play while the Red Wings were scoreless on five chances with the extra attacker.

Howard made 29 stops on 32 shots. Anderson stopped 34 of 39 Detroit chances.

The Red Wings will make their first road appearance of the season Saturday night in Denver when they visit the Colorado Avalanche.

Patrick Eaves and Fabian Brunnstrom were healthy scratches for the Red Wings. Defenseman Mike Commodore did not play with a bruised knee.

Before the game, the Red Wings honored Brad McCrimmon, former defenseman and assistant coach, who was killed along with the rest of the Yaroslavl Lokomotiv KHL team in a plane crash on September 7.

Postgame Thoughts: Red Wings vs. Senators

I’m going to break my postgame thoughts into a couple sections here…

The season opener always has some extra stuff attached to it that I usually find fun. The player introductions seemed more rushed than usual, though, and there’s no forgiving some of Budd Lynch’s mispronunciations. Danny Cleary‘s name was mangled so badly that he didn’t even skate onto the ice, thinking someone else was called.

The ceremony honoring Brad McCrimmon was heartbreaking. I almost wish the team had done something different, that it would have been better not to drag his family out there. A framed jersey can’t mean much to them right now. That said, Beast’s son pulling on his dad’s jersey, that’s a bit of an iconic moment.

As I tweeted before the game, from an aesthetic standpoint I really don’t like the patch the Wings wore in honor of McCrimmon, Salei and Liv. It was lazy to just do the initials with no other imagery and the placement above the left sleeve numbers was awkward. If they had to go with that patch, it should have been above the tip of the wing on the chest, where the captains’ letters should go (which is a whole other design argument). A better option would have been a bigger patch on the shoulder of the jersey.

Early Game
The Wings took awhile to get rolling but once they got on the board, they were buzzing for the next 30 minutes. All four lines were clicking, too, which is something the Wings will need all season.

Todd Bertuzzi‘s goal was a series of great plays. The shot was fantastic itself but that doesn’t happen without a perfect pass from Helm and a nice little play by Kindl to draw the attackers to him.

Cory Emmerton got his second goal in three career games. He’s not going to keep that pace up but it’s great to see hard work paying off.

Up until Ian White‘s goal it was a very solid game for Detroit, you couldn’t poke many holes in it.

Late Game
And then it all fell apart.

The Red Wings kind of deflated after Milan Michalek scored to end Jimmy Howard‘s shutout bid. It was a really fluky goal, kicked up and over Howard, dropping in behind him. Sometimes a team needs that, though, and the Sens took advantage.

Michalek added another on a Sens power play just a couple minutes later and Kuba notched a PPG to make the game look close.

It was too little, too late for Ottawa but if the Red Wings had that kind of let up in a game where they hadn’t scored as many goals, it’d be a different story.

Not a bad opening night. Good to get a win out of the way early and shake some rust off. Of course, the fact that it was a win makes it easier to say that.

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