They haven't won at home since Nov. 15.
"I think one thing goes wrong and then another thing goes wrong, and then we start to tighten up," MacArthur said. "I don't know if it's shutting our brains off for periods during the game, but we made a couple mental errors.
"It's one of those nights where it's a good team and they capitalize."
With all the Senators' flaws, MacLean refused to pin any blame on Robin Lehner, who made 19 saves on 22 shots.
"We have no issue with Robin's game. None," MacLean said. "I don't have any issue with that. The line changes, the opportunities they got, oh yeah we'd like one more save and one more play, but to be honest with you they were pretty good opportunities for them."
Gustavsson, who like Alfredsson is a native of Gothenburg, Sweden, earned the victory, and countryman Lehner took the loss.
The pregame fanfare was all about Alfredsson, who spent 17 seasons with the Senators, including the final 14 as captain. A lackluster first period followed a 67-second video tribute to Alfredsson, but the 40-year-old right-winger was involved in the scoring when it began in the second.
Alfredsson gave the puck to defenseman Jakub Kindl as the Red Wings caught the Senators on an odd-man rush. With only defenseman Karlsson back, Franzen fired a shot that beat Lehner at 8:22.
It was Franzen's seventh goal of the season and Alfredsson's 14th assist.
Miller made it 2-0 Red Wings at 11:13, taking a pass from Tomas Tatar and sending a one-timer past a sliding Lehner.
The Senators answered just over three minutes later during a flurry around Gustavsson. Milan Michalek followed his shot to the net and knocked the puck loose. It went right to MacArthur, who broke up the shutout bid at 14:14.
Miller was the beneficiary of some messy play by the Senators on his second goal of the game. Detroit defenseman Brendan Smith stick-handled and pulled the defense to him, leaving Miller wide open to put the puck into an empty net.
Zibanejad scored with 1:21 left in the game to make it 3-2, but Alfredsson sealed the Red Wings' win with an empty-netter, his seventh goal of the season.
The Red Wings, who won their fourth straight, haven't lost since the Senators beat them on Nov. 23.
NOTES: Senators D Marc Methot was a late scratch for the Senators because of the flu. Ottawa coach Paul MacLean had said before the game that Jared Cowen would be a healthy scratch for a second straight game, but he replaced Methot in the lineup instead.