Ottawa Senators win home-and-home series with Detroit Red Wings with another 5-2 victory
Ottawa Senators' Josh Norris (9) celebrates after scoring a hat trick during third period NHL hockey action against the Detroit Red Wings in Ottawa on Sunday, April 3, 2022. (Patrick Doyle/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
OTTAWA -- The first career hat trick for 22-year-old Ottawa Senators forward Josh Norris was memorable for him because of the opposing team.
Norris, a Michigan native who drew up cheering for the Detroit Red Wings, scored three goals in Sunday's 5-2 win over the visiting Wings.
"Definitely a little bit extra special," Norris said.
Ottawa swept the weekend home-and-home against Detroit.
Norris, who also scored in Friday's 5-2 victory in Detroit, reached the 30-goal mark this season his empty-net goal Sunday.
"I try to play my best every night and let the results take care of themselves," Norris said. "It's a long year and a lot of ups and downs, so I try not to get too far ahead of myself and just be in the moment and do the best that I can.
"You definitely don't get to 30 without some great teammates and linemates."
Norris admitted he probably hadn't scored a hat trick since pee wee hockey.
"I never had one in junior, college or anything. It feels good," he said.
His linemate Mathieu Joseph, who collected his own hat trick Friday in Detroit, had three assists Sunday when he moved to the top line alongside Norris and captain Brady Tkachuk.
Joseph has three goals and five assists in six games with Ottawa since he was acquired at the trade deadline from the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Senators honoured late owner Eugene Melnyk before the game. Melnyk, 62, passed away last Monday after a lengthy illness.
The tribute included a video montage of Melnyk through the years since he purchased the Senators in 2003. Players will wear a commemorative patch with the initials "EM" on their jerseys for the rest of the season.
"I think it was special for us to win that game," Senators coach D.J. Smith said. "Just honouring him and being able to leave the building a winner, on his night, I think is special."
Norris, who is the final year of his contract with Ottawa, is the first Senator in a decade to reach the 30-goal mark. Tkachuk anticipates a big payday for Norris.
"He's hot right now," Tkachuk said. "Any time he touches the puck it's got a chance of going in, so super excited, super awesome.
"He's playing awesome right now for us, so it's definitely exciting. Every time it goes in, cha-ching, so a little more cash coming his way."
Artem Zub and Nikita Zaitsev, with an empty-net goal, also scored for the Senators (25-37-6), while Anton Forsberg had a solid outing with 30 saves.
Michael Rasmussen and Dylan Larkin scored for the Red Wings (26-34-9), who are mired in a six-game losing streak. Thomas Greiss stopped 31 shots.
The losing streaked weighed heavily on Detroit's lineup.
"There's no doubt that right now we're beat down mentally," Detroit head coach Jeff Blashill said. "Now, that's not an excuse. We've got to fix that, but that's the reality of it and we've got to climb our way out of it."
Trailing 3-1, Larkin gave the Red Wings some life with a pretty goal off his backhand with just over seven minutes remaining in regulation.
But Detroit failed to capitalize on a number of good chances during a power play in the final minutes of the game.
"We didn't create enough again," said Larkin. "We didn't make it hard enough on their goalie. But we're right there."
Norris scored twice in the second period as the Senators led 3-1 after 40 minutes. His first was a power-play goal on a feed from Tim Stutzle. Norris beat Greiss blocker side from the left faceoff circle at 2:32.
Norris's 15th power-play goal this season made him the first to reach that mark since Dany Heatley in 2008-09.
He scored his second goal even-strength at 14:16 when he jumped on a Nick Holden rebound from the slot.
Tyler Ennis left the game early in the second period and did not return after he was hit by Gustav Lindstrom.
Following the game, it was announced that Ennis is likely done for the season.
Detroit opened the scoring at 7:21 of the opening period when Rasmussen slipped the puck through Stutzle's legs and beat Forsberg blocker side.
Zub beat Greiss through the legs to tie the game 1-1 with less than two minutes remaining in the first period.
Notes: Ennis played in his 700th NHL game . . . The Red Wings were without Tyler Bertuzzi. He's unable to travel to Canada because he's unvaccinated..
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 03, 2022.