The Ottawa Senators got exactly what they wanted Thursday night.
After a disappointing 8-3 loss to the Montreal Canadiens Monday night, the Senators, who have struggled at home, were determined to come out with a much better effort from start to finish and bounced back with a 3-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings.
“It was about our identity and getting our identity back,” said Senators coach Guy Boucher. “I talked about our trust in our goaltender, our trust in our leadership and that’s exactly what we got tonight.”
Mark Stone had a goal and an assist to lead the Senators (6-2-5). Alex Burrows and Nate Thompson also scored as Craig Anderson made 24 saves.
From a performance standpoint the Senators couldn’t have asked for much more as all four lines played well.
“We wanted to come out and make sure that we had a good one this game,” said Anderson. “It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you respond. I thought we did a great job and everyone played one of their best games of the year.”
Jimmy Howard looked good stopping 27 shots, but didn’t have the offensive support needed as Anthony Mantha scored the lone goal for Detroit (6-7-1) which saw its two-game winning streak come to an end.
The Red Wings admitted they didn’t play their best game and weren’t able to take advantage of their opportunities.
“It’s not going to be a pretty game when you play against Ottawa,” said Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg. “We’ve just got to be smart enough and patient enough and really work our chances.”
It wasn’t until the third that Detroit was able to finally beat Anderson.
With the man advantage and an empty net Dylan Larkin fed a pass to Mike Green and Mantha tipped his shot to cut the Senators’ lead to 2-1 at the 16-minute mark.
While the Red Wings pressed for the equalizer Thompson added an empty-net goal to seal the win for Ottawa.
“It’s hard to come back from a 2-0 lead,” admitted Mantha. “The way they play it’s defence first so it’s really hard to come back that late in the game.”
Leading 1-0 the Senators continued to have the edge in play outshooting the Red Wings 14-8 in the second.
“We felt like we really took over (that period), held control, worked them deep and make their (defencemen) skate and turn,” said Stone. “It really was effective and we could have had a couple more for sure.”
The Senators took a 2-0 lead midway through the period when Burrows picked up his second of the season with a power-play goal.
Stone, with his second point of the night, fed Burrows with a perfect pass through the middle to beat Howard stick-side.
Ottawa thought it scored first with Cody Ceci scoring at the three-minute mark, but the goal was called back due to goaltender interference.
The Senators had a number of good chances, but it wasn’t until the final minute of the period that they were able to beat Howard. Stone picked up a Mike Hoffman rebound in front in traffic and slid it through Howard’s legs for a 1-0 lead. Stone now has eight goals and 14 points in 13 games.
Stone has impressed Boucher since he took over coaching the Senators last season and believes the 25-year-old is coming into his own.
“I think this year he’s really taken a prominent role and a leading role,” said Boucher. “I don’t think he’s had one bad practice. There’s not a lot of guys you can say that about. He’s been onâ€¦This guy is getting the results of his work ethic.”
Kyle Turris made his return for the Senators after missing the last three games with a viral infection.
The Senators host Las Vegas Saturday afternoon in their final home game before leaving for Sweden Monday night.
Notes: Ottawa D Mark Borowiecki missed his second straight game with a virus. Detroit LW David Booth and RW Luke Witkowski were healthy scratches.