Anthony Mantha's OT goal lifts Red Wings over Senators

By Don Brennan, The Sports Xchange  |  Dec. 30, 2016 at 9:47 AM
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OTTAWA -- Asked about watching her grandson play in person for the first time at any level, 92-year-old Patricia Thompson said it was the best day of her life.

That pleased Detroit Red Wings rookie goalie Jared Coreau to no end.

"Well, that's good," Coreau, who was born and raised 37 miles west of Ottawa's Canadian Tire Centre, said after stopping 26 shots in Detroit's 3-2 overtime victory over the Senators on Thursday night. "That means I'm probably one of her favorite grandchildren.

"She's a wonderful woman, a great grandmother minus the pink hat and mittens she knit me. I was so happy she could make it. She's 92, so it might have been a lot getting her here, but it was worth it."

Coreau's outstanding performance, in just his third NHL start, was aided by Anthony Mantha's winner 1:07 into overtime. The eighth goal of the season for the Red Wings rookie came on his game-high sixth shot on net, and it was set up by defenseman Niklas Kronwall after a failed clearing attempt by Senators winger Bobby Ryan.

"I thought Mantha was excellent tonight, I thought he was maybe the best player on the ice," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "He's 6-foot-5, and when he wants to skate like that, he's a heck of a player. I thought he did an excellent job. I told him that after the game. He just needs to continue to move those feet at that level."

Also scoring goals for the Red Wings (16-16-4) were Thomas Vanek and Tomas Tatar. Replying for the Senators (20-12-4) were Derick Brassard and Mark Stone.

Ottawa goalie Mike Condon made 25 saves and escaped injury when Mantha crashed into him hard after being pushed by Senators defenseman Marc Methot.

"They made the most of their opportunity in overtime," Condon said, "but it's a pretty big point and we'll take it and move on."

The result put a bit of a damper on a festive night for the Senators, who held a pregame ceremony to retire the jersey of former captain Daniel Alfredsson. The occasion drew 20,011 fans for the team's first sellout of the season.

The Senators didn't respond with the energy expected, however. When Vanek opened the scoring at the 4:37 mark of the opening period, the shots were 8-1 in favor of the visitors.

"We definitely didn't start the way we wanted to," Ottawa coach Guy Boucher said. "I think we got going after the 10-minute mark, and then we started shooting, started driving, started getting some momentum.

"From then on, I thought five-on-five we were doing fine, but we took too many penalties."

The Red Wings couldn't take advantage of having an extra man on the ice as they went 0-for-5 with a power play that has now scored just twice in 50 opportunities on the road. The Senators' power play also shot blanks, going 0-for-3, including a botched two-man advantage for 1:16 with the scored tied late in the second period.

"We didn't have a lot of time to practice the last couple of days, but when you have a five-on-three, you have to find a way to score a great goal," Brassard said. "That's obviously something we're going to address, obviously something we could do a lot better."

The Red Wings are now off until Sunday, when they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs to play an outdoor game against their former coach, Mike Babcock.

"I think we're all looking forward to it," said Blashill, who is expected to give Coreau his fourth start. "We're going to enjoy the event. I think lots of people's families are coming to town. Mine is. We'll enjoy the skate tomorrow. It's fun to skate outdoors. It won't be a real serious skate. It will be a relaxing skate.

"We'll take in the whole event, enjoy it, but then be focused for the task at hand when the puck drops and there's two huge points (available) against a team we need to beat."

The Senators also are off until New Year's Day, when they take on the Capitals in Washington. It will likely be the 14th consecutive game for Condon, who is carrying the load while Craig Anderson is on personal leave to be with his wife as she battles cancer.

Condon insists he is not tiring.

"I'm loving it. I feel great, I'm having a great time," he said. "I want to start putting some wins together here, but I feel good."

NOTES: Red Wings C Riley Sheahan was scratched for the first time this season. He was replaced by C Tomas Jurco. In 35 games this season, Sheahan has zero goals, six assists and is a minus-14 ... Senators D Fredrik Claesson was scratched for the fourth consecutive game. Because of a previous injury, he hasn't played since Dec. 1 ... Red Wings D Ryan Sproul was out of the lineup for a second straight game.

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