Senators aim to sweep 2-game set vs. Wings

The Ottawa Senators on Tuesday will be seeking back-to-back home victories over the Detroit Red Wings — on back-to-back nights.

Claude Giroux led the Senators on Monday with a goal and three assists in a 6-2 win. A postponement in December led to the unusual back-to-back set. The Senators now hold a 2-1 lead in the season series.

Detroit will look to bounce back by playing cleaner hockey. The Red Wings took six penalties in the first two periods, leading to the Senators’ first two goals.

“It was just clear as day — taking penalties and giving their skill (players) a little too much time and space,” Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin said. “We didn’t execute enough. We took way too many penalties against a power play like that. There’s things to clean up for (Tuesday).”

Detroit has lost two straight after winning seven of its previous eight games to jump into the playoff chase. Backup goaltender Magnus Hellberg made a career-high 36 saves against the Senators, but the defense gave up too many odd-man rushes when the teams were at even strength.

“We really gave ourselves no chance with six penalties,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde said in a postgame TV interview. “That team’s going to lose to nobody if they get six power plays. Beyond that, we gave them some easy offense. Really didn’t give ourselves much of a chance.”

Ottawa also had the edge in physicality, piling up 34 hits to the Red Wings’ 31. The Red Wings feel they need to get tougher in the rematch.

“They did a much better job than us, and that’ll be our challenge tomorrow,” Lalonde said. “We have to elevate our compete (level) on the physical side of the game. We had spurts of it, a little push-back if you will, and we had some success.

“We’ll look at some video, talk it through in the morning and we’ll have to be a lot better in a lot of areas to give ourselves a chance (Tuesday).”

Detroit will have its No. 1 goaltender, Ville Husso, in the lineup on Tuesday.

Giroux’s output was his first four-point game since Nov. 21, 2019, when he had two goals and two assists for the Philadelphia Flyers.

“There was definitely a lot of emotion from both sides. I thought everybody played great. We were rolling the lines and the fans gave us some energy,” Giroux said. “It was a great game for us, but we know they’re going to come out hard (Tuesday).”

Jake Sanderson, Drake Batherson, Brady Tkachuk, Thomas Chabot and Tim Stutzle also scored for the Senators on Monday, while Cam Talbot made 22 saves.

“Everybody stepped up tonight and everybody knows the importance of this final stretch,” Tkachuk said. “We’re focused on doing whatever it takes to win.”

Detroit actually led 2-1 during the second period, but Ottawa controlled the game the rest of the way.

“I thought right from the drop of the puck we were engaged physically and mentally we were ready to go (Monday),” Talbot said. “We knew this was going to be a big game for us and we came out and established our game.”

–Field Level Media