SENATORS 3, WINGS 2 (OT)
The Ottawa Senators packed up the two points before they left the Motor City.
In the final game before the National Hockey League all-star break, the Senators ignored the pre-game hype about the Detroit Red Wings looking for revenge and took a business-like approach in a 3-2 overtime victory at Little Caesars Arena on Wednesday night.
Shane Pinto scored the overtime winner on a redirect at 2:03 to give the Senators a gutsy victory.
It was Pinto’s first career OT winner and he tipped a perfect pass from Thomas Chabot home.
“It was a nice little saucer and it found its way in,” Pinto told TSN 1200’s Gord Wilson.
Brady Tkachuk and Mark Kastelic did the scoring in regulation for the Senators while Joonas Korpisalo made enough stops to give his club a chance to win. Goaltender Alex Lyon was solid for the Wings.
The Senators are 6-2-2 in their last 10 games.
“We’ve played some pretty solid hockey to finish it up. Now it’s about a chance to regroup and make a pretty big push and hopefully prove a lot of people wrong after the break,” Tkachuk said.
The Senators’ rivalry with the Wings has been elevated over the last couple of years. This was the club’s first time back in Detroit since Ottawa winger Mathieu Joseph knocked out captain Dylan Larkin during an incident in front of the net in the first period of Ottawa’s 5-1 win in Detroit on Dec. 9.
As a result, Joseph, who was in the starting lineup for Ottawa, was booed every time he touched the puck, but other than that both sides went head-to-head for the two points.
Trailing by a goal going into the third, the Wings pushed the pace in the final 20 minutes.
Larkin got his own measure of revenge by tying it up 2-2 with 8:45 to play with a blast from the top of the slot that beat Korpisalo high on the glove side. He had been solid up to then, but Korpisalo has to make that save.
The Senators finished the game without stalwart defenceman Jake Sanderson. He left the Ottawa bench with seven minutes left in the first and didn’t return with what the club called a lower-body injury.
That meant the Senators were forced to finish the game with five blueliners, and if Sanderson is out for any length of time thats another huge blow.
Interim coach defenceman Jacques Martin said losing Sanderson “is tough”.
He had no update and said: “It’s a lower body injury and we’ll see when we get back.”
With Sanderson injured, the coaching staff leaned on Chabot and Jakob Chychrun by giving them big minutes. Chabot played 30 minutes and 17 seconds while Chychrun was at 28:37.
“We got the result we wanted,” Chabot said. “It’s huge. Everybody wants to go into the break feeling good about their game.”
Veteran Travis Hamonic will be ready to return from his lower-body injury after the break.
OFF THE GLASS
Tkachuk showed great hustle coming out of the box to give the club a 2-1 lead at 14:32 of the second. He picked up the loose puck near centre and beat Lyon upstairs on the glove side. That was Tkachuk’s 22nd of the year and it came on his first shot of the game … Korpisalo made a couple of big pad stops with nine minutes left in the second to keep the Wings from taking the lead … Kastelic tied it up 1-1 at 3:09 of the second. First, he caused a turnover and then tipped a shot from defenceman Jacob Bernard-Docker by Lyon. That was Kastelic’s second of the year and his first in 12 games … This was the final game between these two teams. Since 2017, the Senators had played 11 games in Detroit and had a 6-3-2 record in that span.
There was no shortage of eyes in the house Wednesday night.
There were 22 scouts from 18 teams to take in the Senators and Wings.
The Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, N.Y. Rangers and Vegas Golden Knights had two representatives each. The St. Louis Blues, Islanders, Dallas, Colorado, Edmonton, Anaheim, Nashville, Montreal, Columbus, Minnesota, Calgary, Toronto, Chicago and Seattle were also there.
There were only three games on the schedule, but that’s quite a few scouts, and the reality is the Senators are going to be a seller so teams want to get a look at some of their assets.
THE FINAL BUZZER
Detroit coach Derek Lalonde accused centre Tim Stutzle of diving in the third when Christian Fischer was assessed a tripping penalty … A turnover by the Senators in their own zone resulted in the opening goal by the Wings. Erik Brannstrom didn’t do a good job trying to corral a pass from Bernard-Docker and the puck landed on Joe Veleno’s stick. He threw a pass to Daniel Sprong and he one-timed it by Korpisalo to give the Wings a 1-0 lead at 8:57 of the first. Brannstrom has to make that play … An area of concern has to be the play of centre Josh Norris. He came into this game with no goals and four assists in 10 games in January. Norris’ drought had reached 13 games and he hadn’t scored since Dec. 23 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He hit the post in the second … Ottawa winger Vladimir Tarasenko missed a golden opportunity on Lyon five minutes into the first, firing it high and wide … Two opportunities on the power play in the first and the Senators came empty on both. It’s hard to watch this team with the man-advantage because it’s an exercise in frustration … Winger Parker Kelly got off lucky in the third when he took a skate in the face that only caused a small cut to his lip.
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