The Detroit Red Wings faced a young goaltender making his NHL debut, had half a minute with two extra skaters, and still spent the night chasing their opponent.
The Wings had to swallow a 5-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Friday at Little Caesars Arena, going winless for the fifth straight game. “Fire Blashill” chants broke out near the end of the night, after the Senators scored their final goal.
Goalie Alex Nedeljkovic struggled, allowing four goals on 31 shots, but his teammates got pinned in their own zone on multiple shifts and went 0-for-5 on the power play.
The Wings began the third period with a two-man advantage, but they failed to build momentum and instead fell behind, when Senators Josh Norris (Oxford) and Mathieu Joseph scored 1:11 apart. Joseph beat Nedeljkovic again at 13:19, firing a shot that Nedeljkovic saw coming. Rookie Lucas Raymond scored his second goal of the game to pull the Wings within 4-2, and Nedeljkovic was pulled for an extra attacker with 4:41 to go, which enabled Joseph to complete his hat trick with an empty-net goal.
The Wings (26-33-9) play the Senators again Sunday in Ottawa.
Wings see Sens’ newbie
The Wings faced Mads Søgaard in his NHL debut, as the Senators opted to give the 6-foot-7 Dane a look and give Anton Forsberg a rest. The Senators drafted Søgaard, 21, in the second round in 2019, at No. 37 overall. The Wings could have had him at No. 35, but opted to select defenseman Antti Tuomisto (who is now playing for Denver in the Frozen Four). (The Wings added their own big goalie, 6-6 Sebastian Cossa, in the first round of the 2021 draft.) Raymond scored on Søgaard at 2:18 of the second period, connecting on a loose puck after Søgaard stopped Jake Walman’s slap shot. Søgaard finished with 27 saves.
Alex Formenton took a roughing penalty on Adam Erne 3:34 into the game, sending the Wings on a power play. Moritz Seider got a shot through from the blueline, but Søgaard made the save. Seconds later, Joseph jumped on a loose puck and strode up ice, going along the wall to elude Filip Hronek. Joseph pulled up and wired a pass to Auston Watson (Ann Arbor), who got the puck on his blade and slung the puck high behind Nedeljkovic to score shorthanded. Formenton put the puck in the net one minute later, but the Wings successfully challenged that he’d shoved Moritz Seider into Nedeljkovic, thereby impeding Nedeljkovic.
The Wings gave up a goal during their first power play, and directed one shot on net during their second. They drew a third at 18:33 of the second period, when Artem Zub was called for tripping Erne, and a fourth at 19:52 when Joseph went for hooking Dylan Larkin. (The two have history from the season opener when Joseph, then with the Lightning, checked Larkin from behind and Larkin retaliated by punching Joseph, earning a one-game suspension.) That 5-on-3 spilled over by 33 seconds into the third period. Seider, Larkin, Raymond, Tyler Bertuzzi and Jakub Vrana took the ice but were unable to generate a shot on net, and 49 seconds into the period Raymond took a penalty, negating most of the Wings’ fourth power play.
Contact Helene St. James at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.