Derek Lalonde hopes a frustrating loss won’t bring his team down.
The first-year Detroit coach watched his players put 45 shots on goal against Tampa Bay on Saturday night and still get shut out 3-0. Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy cooled down a Red Wings team that had won seven of its previous eight games.
Detroit now plays back-to-back nights at Ottawa on Monday and Tuesday.
“With all the winning we’ve done a good job not getting too high. That has led to good performance after good performance, good start after good start,” he said. “It’s the same message with a low — don’t get too low. We’ve got to move on from this. It’s going to be a really fun chase for a playoff spot. Embrace it.”
The Red Wings were blanked for just the third time this season. Tampa Bay scored a first-period goal and another with seven seconds left in the second period. Detroit outshot the Lightning in that period 19-3. Tampa Bay added an empty-net goal.
“It’s not what you want to see as the other team when he’s hot like that and pucks are hitting him,” team captain Dylan Larkin said of Vasilevskiy. “You could just tell he was going to be the difference maker.”
The Red Wings are playing two straight games in Ottawa because their scheduled game there on Dec. 23 was postponed due to poor weather conditions.
The teams split the first two games of the four-game season series. The Senators won the first meeting 6-3 on Dec. 17 and the Red Wings captured a 4-2 victory on New Year’s Eve.
“We’re trying not to get too low here,” Larkin said. “We played a pretty good game, one of our best games 5-on-5 in a long time, and we just didn’t score. We can’t get too down. We have a great opportunity on the road in Ottawa. Our power play has been good on the road and we’ve been playing well on the road. We need to show up like we did (Saturday) the rest of the way.”
The Senators salvaged the finale of a three-game road swing with a 5-2 win in Montreal on Saturday. Ottawa lost to Boston 3-1 and Carolina 4-0 during the first two legs of the trip.
Ottawa trailed 2-1 midway through the second period against the Canadiens. Shane Pinto tied the game before the period ended and the Senators scored three third-period goals.
“We didn’t take care of the puck at all,” Senators coach D.J. Smith said. “Clearly we were rattled there for a six-minute span where we were just kind of running around, turning pucks over, lost focus really. A game like this, we knew we had to have it, and sometimes you squeeze and it’s not going your way. But good on the guys, they got themselves together after the second TV timeout, played much better in the second half.”
Austin Watson and Drake Batherson scored 47 seconds apart in the final period and Julien Gauthier provided the final goal. Gauthier was playing his third game with Ottawa after being traded by the New York Rangers.
“Everybody’s been great to me, so it’s fun,” Gauthier said. “The adaptation has been really smooth, and I’m just happy to be here.”
–Field Level Media