OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Daniel Alfredsson got a firsthand look at how the Ottawa Senators are now struggling without him.
Alfredsson scored an empty-net goal and added an assist in his return to Ottawa, and the Detroit Red Wings beat the host Senators 4-2 on Sunday night.
Alfredsson, the former longtime captain of the Senators, wasn't primarily responsible for Ottawa's second straight loss and fourth consecutive at home, but he helped contribute to the continuation of his ex-team's woes.
"The result makes it a lot sweeter," said Alfredsson, who was named the third star. "You could tell our team was motivated and played hard. I thought we got better as the game went on. But if we would have lost, for me personally, I think it would still have been a night I'll always remember."
Like so many times in their previous 27 games in the post-Alfredsson era, something was missing for the Senators (10-13-4). Defensive breakdowns led to goals, and there wasn't enough offense to compensate.
"They catch us on three line changes, and they get the odd-man rush and they don't miss," Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said. "They're a team that if you give them those opportunities, they're going to take advantage of them. They took what we gave them and they made it the difference."
The other difference was Ottawa's power-less power play, that went 0-for-4 and recorded only four shots.
"We couldn't really establish anything off the entries, and that's why we couldn't really get set up," defenseman Erik Karlsson said. "We just had to chase the puck the whole time."
Drew Miller scored twice, Johan Franzen added a goal, and Jonas Gustavsson made 29 saves for Detroit.
Clarke MacArthur and Mika Zibanejad had goals for Ottawa.
The Senators were 0-for-4 on the power play, and the Red Wings seemed to capitalize on every mistake.
MacArthur scored his eighth goal of the season, and Zibanejad made things interesting late, but it wasn't enough for the Senators to improve to 3-0 against the Red Wings. Ottawa won the first two meetings in Detroit.
"It was important for our team. We had dropped the ball. The first time we played against them we played poorly," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "It was important to respond here today, for Alfie and for the guys. The guys care about him, they wanted him to have a big night here."
Alfredsson recorded his 590th and 591st points in his 596th game in Ottawa. The empty-net goal brought boos from the crowd of 20,011, but it generated plenty of relief for the Red Wings.
"It was nice kind of to seal the game there," Alfredsson said. "They were pushing, and I was thinking, 'Here come the Pesky Sens again.' But we were lucky to get a good bounce there."
The Senators were the "Pesky Sens" last year when they managed to find ways to win despite injuries to Karlsson, center Jason Spezza, goalie Craig Anderson and others. This season, they have struggled mightily.