DETROIT -- In hockey there is the old adage that the first game after a west coast road trip is the toughest game for a team to find its legs.
It may be the three-hour time adjustment or the lack of the California sun, but for whatever reason various stages of sluggishness seem to permeate a team once they return from out west.
Such was the case Tuesday night at Little Caesars Arena when the Red Wings spotted the Ottawa Senators an early goal only to storm back and lead after one period of play, 2-1.
But the Senators caught the Wings napping in the second period, scoring three unanswered goals en route to a 4-3 victory over the Red Wings.
Ottawa fired 17 second-period shots at Detroit goaltender Jonathan Bernier, who was the victim of defensive lapses and the Wings' overall lack of energy in the second stanza.
Detroit was a different team in the third period and took the play to the Sens, outshooting them 16-3, and pulled to within one goal, but it proved to be too little too late as the Wings failed to register a point in a game for the first time in their last six contests.
Robby Fabbri, Valtteri Filppula (shorthanded) and Anthony Mantha were the Wings' goal scorers.
Anthony Duclair (two goals), Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and Brady Tkachuk lit the lamp for Ottawa.
Bernier (5-5-2) stopped 29 of the 33 shots he faced for an .879 save percentage.
Anders Nilsson (6-4-1) was in net for the Sens, making 32 saves out of the 38 shots Detroit fired his way for a .921 save percentage.
The Red Wings (7-13-3) hit the road again for two games beginning with a Thursday tilt in Columbus against the Blue Jackets and a Saturday affair in New Jersey versus the Devils.
Ottawa (9-11-1) will next see action Wednesday night as they play the second game of back-to-back contests in Montreal against the Canadiens.
1. Valtteri Filppula: Last season, the Wings were often a threat to score while shorthanded. That had not been the case for the first quarter of this season. But that changed when Darren Helm intercepted the puck during a penalty kill late in the first. Helm and Filppula broke in 2-on-1 and Helm sent the puck to Filppula in the right circle and Filppula picked the corner for his third of the season. It was the fifth shorthanded goal of Filppula's career. His last came on Oct. 18, 2018 as a member of the New York Islanders. Filppula's last shorthanded goal for the Wings was Feb. 4, 2012 at Edmonton. The last time the Wings had a shorthanded goal was when Helm scored on March 14 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Before his shorthanded goal, Filppula assisted on Fabbri's goal. It was Filppula's first multi-point game of the season and first for the Wings since Jan. 29, 2013 against the Dallas Stars. In his last 12 games, Filppula has three goals and six assists. Filppula finished with 21 shifts for 14:13, had one shot, one takeaway, was 3-of-7 in face-offs and was even.
Quotable: "I don't know, shorthanded if you get some goals it's a plus, but you're just trying to keep the puck out of your own net. I think we've been doing a pretty good job. Obviously we're still letting in some goals but I think it's going in a better direction." - Filppula
Quotable II: "That's a huge goal for us. That's what I'm talking about. We had some good chances there. I think this is a game where we just have to after a long road trip, coming home and playing here at home, we gotta put it away. We get back on the road and find a way to get four points here and two big games. It's not the result we wanted but I think we gotta put this one in the past and move on." - Dylan Larkin
2. Robby Fabbri: Fabbri got a little puck luck on his side midway through the first period. Fabbri shot the puck, which Nilsson saved, but in an attempt to clear the rebound away, Logan Brown instead kicked the puck into the net. Fabbri was credited with his fourth goal of the season. In six games with Detroit, Fabbri now has three goals and four assists. The seven points are the most by a Wing through his first six games with the team since Thomas Vanek, who also had seven points (3-4-7) from Oct. 13-22, 2016. Fabbri has also created some chemistry with linemates Filppula and Andreas Athanasiou. Fabbri finished with 20 shifts for 16:00, had four shots, one hit, was 2-of-3 in face-offs and was minus-1.
Quotable: "It was a great pass by Fil. I just wanted to get it on net as quick as possible. Sometimes you're fortunate with those bounces. I came here and just wanted to, like I said the first day, help contribute right away. That's happening right now but at the end of the day, we're still at the bottom, so it's about getting those wins and getting those points, like we did in the last five, so we gotta get back to that." - Fabbri
Quotable II: "It's fun guys to play with. Both are good with the puck and can make plays and skate as well. So it's nice to have that kind of wingers." - Filppula
3. Second-period woes: It has been a challenging season overall but it has been particularly so in the second period this season. The Wings carried a 2-1 lead into the second period and had 1:26 left on their power play. They managed one shot on the power play but failed to create any momentum. Then in rapid succession, Duclair scored his second goal of the game at the 5:00 mark, 57 seconds later, Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored on the breakaway and then Brady Tkachuk scored on a nice play on a pass from Duclair from behind the net at 10:22. That turned a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 Senators lead. In the second period this season, the Wings have been outscored 38-19.
Quotable: "We didn't capitalize on our chances and we didn't manage the puck well through the neutral zone. They got a couple of guys over there that can skate and we made it too easy for those guys to feel like they could skate all night and make them look like players that they regularly aren't, like world beaters. That's the frustrating part." - Larkin
Quotable II: "That's a good question. I don't know, especially today was bad, I think. I think we've been playing pretty well as of late but that second period wasn't good enough. I don't think fatigue was necessarily a factor. But we turned a lot of pucks over in the neutral zone and spent a lot of time in our zone. It's a tough way to play and maybe it looks like you're tired but we should have gotten more pucks in and spent more time in their zone." - Filppula
Quotable III: "It (ticks) me off. We get out there on a power play and it's the second time in the two games we've played them we're on the power play with a chance to make it 3-1. Last time in their building they come down and score a shorthanded goal. This time we lose momentum and then we end up getting scored on. If we come out on the power play and score and make it 3-1, now turn momentum your way, instead momentum went the other way. I thought once momentum went the other way … we were terrible in the second period. We came out and played fairly good in the first; it was a weird period. We played obviously real good in the third but it was too late. You can't come out and have that period in the second." - Wings coach Jeff Blashill
4. Darren Helm/Mike Green: Helm assisted on Filppula's shorthanded goal but that was unfortunately the highlight for him. After playing seven shifts for 4:37 in the first period, Helm had one shift early in the second and then left with a lower-body injury. Mike Green, returning after missing one game for the birth of his daughter, suffered an upper-body injury early in the third and did not return. Green finished with 20 shifts for 14:10, three hits, a takeaway, a blocked shot and was even.
Quotable: "No update today, I'll have more update for you tomorrow. I know they couldn't finish the game. When guys don't finish the game … I don't know anything further than that, but it usually isn't good if they don't finish the game." - Blashill