DETROIT – Stephen Weiss was hoping his return to Detroit’s lineup would’ve been a little bit sweeter.
Weiss was taken off injured reserve earlier in the week and was a late replacement for Todd Bertuzzi against Ottawa. As of this morning, Bertuzzi expected to play against the Senators, but is day-to-day with an upper body injury.
“I think I got the text at about 4:15 (p.m.) on the way to the rink,” Weiss said of his return. “So I found out then. I knew it was a possibility this morning, but found out about that time.”
Daniel Alfredsson and Weiss have both been sidelined with groin injuries, and told team trainers Friday they were ready to return. Weiss missed Detroit’s previous six games. The center recorded two goals and eight assists in 17 games this season, notching only one point in his past 11 contests.
Weiss skated as a right wing on the starting line with Pavel Datsyuk and Daniel Cleary against Ottawa, logging 11:18 of ice time and recording one shot and one takeaway.
“I was OK,” Weiss said of his first period performance. “Makes it easier when you are playing with Pavel, for sure. He takes care of both ends of the ice, but felt OK. Just the matter of getting back into the hockey game.”
The Red Wings jumped on the scoreboard first when Darren Helm deflected Tomas Tatar’s shot into the net for a power-play goal, recording his fourth goal of the season. But Ottawa stifled Detroit’s goal quickly, as Clarke MacArthur and Chris Neil scored just over one minute apart to take a 2-1 lead late in the opening period.
After a scoreless second period, Datsyuk scored on a 5-on-3 power play when his pass bounced off Marc Methot’s left skate and past backup goalie Robin Lehner, tying the game 2-2.
But the Senators answered with a power-play goal from Bobby Ryan to restore their one-goal lead. MacArthur secured the win with his second goal of the night, giving Ottawa a 4-2 lead with 4:02 left in the game.
“I thought they had three chances in the first period and two of them went in,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “The one bounced off our foot. The other team is going to get some chances, that’s just the way it is. We just have to find a way to execute and not break down.
“When you look at the first period, they didn’t touch the puck and they were up 2-1 coming out. Bottom line is we have to mentally tough to win games and we didn’t find a way tonight.”
The Wings snapped a seven-game losing streak and eight-game skid at home with a 4-3 victory over Carolina Thursday, but were unable to extend their win streak past one with a 4-2 loss to Ottawa. The Senators also beat Detroit in the first matchup between the two teams in October, defeating the Red Wings 6-1 at The Joe.
“I’m concerned always when we don’t win,” Babcock said. “I thought we started off good, did lots of good things and we didn’t find a way to win the game.”
The Red Wings killed off seven of Ottawa’s nine power plays and converted on two of their 10 power-play opportunities. A rare three of the 19 power plays were 5-on-3 matchups. Detroit converted on its first two-man advantage, but failed to score on its finals two in the final period.
“We had a 5-on-3 with chances to score and we didn’t,” Babcock said. “We had two power-play goals, they had two power play goals, but I still thought we could have got another power-play goal on that 5-on-3. We had an extended 5-on-3 in the third with a chance to score and we didn’t score. I thought that was part of it.
“The other thing you can’t kill penalties all night long. I didn’t like the (Niklas) Kronwall penalty I thought it was an awful call, but other than that you deserve what you get. You have to look after your stick or you’re going to be in the box all night and no one gets any rhythm like that.”
The Red Wings return to the ice Sunday as they traveled to Buffalo immediately following Saturday’s game. Game time against the Sabres is 5 p.m. EST.
INJURY UPDATE: Defenseman Jakub Kindl only skated in one shift during the third period after suffering an apparent hip injury. Babcock said the defenseman’s status for Sunday is uncertain.
Bertuzzi was scratched from the lineup against Ottawa, and his equipment was still hanging in his stall in the Wings’ locker room after the team departed.