Andreas Athanasiou’s goal rescues Red Wings in OT
Detroit — Andreas Athanasiou didn’t waste any time in overtime.
Athanasiou got control of the puck after the Red Wings won the faceoff, skated in on goalie Craig Anderson, and beat the goalie just six seconds into overtime, giving the Red Wings a 2-1 victory over Ottawa on Wednesday.
It was Athanasiou’s eighth goal and second of the night, capping another game in which he excelled.
It was the third consecutive victory for the Red Wings (16-16-7, 39 points).
BOX SCORE: Red Wings 2, Senators 1, OT
Athanasiou had a chance to break the tie at 10:41 after being awarded a penalty shot.
Athanasiou was dragged down by Dion Phaneuf while breaking in on goalie Craig Anderson.
But Anderson stopped Athanasiou on the penalty shot, with Jimmy Howard matching the save with a nice stop on Erik Karlsson trailing on a rush moments later.
Ottawa’s Ryan Dzingel tied the game 1-1 just 39 seconds into the third period.
Dzingel stripped Darren Helm of the puck between the hash marks, went down the slot, and beat Howard for his 10th goal.
Through two periods, Athanasiou’s seventh goal of the season at 11:15 of the first period gave the Red Wings a 1-0 lead.
After an Ottawa turnover Martin Frk got the puck to Anthony Mantha, who was trying to control it when he tried a between-the-legs attempt at Anderson.
The goalie made the save but the rebound went to Athanasiou, who had most of the net to convert, giving the Red Wings the lead.
Ottawa had a golden chance to tie the game toward the end of the first period.
But Bobby Ryan’s tap-in at the post hit the post, then was pushed out by a diving Howard, keeping the score 1-0.
Anderson was the main difference in the second period, making several outstanding saves to keep his team down by one goal.
Again, Athanasiou figured on most of the scoring chances.
Twice Athanasiou got through the Senators defense, only to be frustrated by Anderson on the breakaways.
Athanasiou also found Frk driving to the net, but Frk’s wraparound was denied on a sprawling Anderson save.
Tyler Bertuzzi’s attempt off a rush hit a goalpost.
The Senators — who reached Game 7 double overtime of the Eastern Conference Finals last season before losing to Pittsburgh — entered Wednesday’s game having won only four games in their last 21 games (4-14-3).
Karlsson has struggled, the offense has dried up, and Anderson hasn’t played to the level of the previous two seasons.
And, generally speaking, the close, tight games Ottawa has been known to win the last two seasons haven’t gone their way this winter.
Coach Jeff Blashill feels Ottawa’s plight signifies the parity of the NHL.
“They have played good hockey, they haven’t won, that’s the league,” Blashill said. “Last year their goal differentiation when they made the playoffs was negative. They won tons of close games.
“This year they’ve been in those same close games. They are still a really good hockey team, but they just haven’t won a lot of the ones they did a year ago. That’s how close the league is.
“I’ve said it over and over, and it’s a great example.”