It is going to be a big game between the Ottawa Senators and the Detroit Red Wings, as the greatest Senator ever will see his number 11 raised to the rafters. The only two teams that Daniel Alfredsson has ever played for in the NHL will face-off tonight in honour of the Swedish legend and recently sworn-in Canadian citizen.
Once the ceremony is over, the puck will drop and the focus for both teams will return to gaining two points. The Senators are coming off a tough loss on the road in which they surrendered a two-goal lead to fall to the New York Rangers 4-3. They will look to bounce back against a Red Wings team that is facing the threat of seeing their playoff streak end at 25 years.
Ottawa Senators vs. Detroit Red Wings
Canadian Tire Centre – 8 p.m. EST
Broadcast channels – TSN5 & FS-D
2016-17 Season Series: October 17 – Detroit Red Wings won 5-1
Ottawa Senators – 20-12-3 – 43 Points – 2nd in Atlantic Division
Home Record: 11-5-3
Hot Players: Mark Stone, Bobby Ryan
Key Absences: Zack Smith (abdominal strain), Andrew Hammond (ankle), Clarke MacArthur (concussion), Craig Anderson (personal leave)
Ryan Dzingel – Derick Brassard – Mark Stone
Tom Pyatt — Kyle Turris – Bobby Ryan
Mike Hoffman – Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Curtis Lazar
Casey Bailey – Chris Kelly – Chris Neil
Marc Methot – Erik Karlsson
Dion Phaneuf – Cody Ceci
Mark Borowiecki – Chris Wideman
Detroit Red Wings – 15-6-4 – 34 Points – Last in Atlantic Division
Road Record: 8-6-1
Hot Players: Anthony Mantha
Key Injuries: Tomas Jurco (illness), Justin Abdelkader (knee), Mike Green (undisclosed), Jimmy Howard (knee), Darren Helm (shoulder), Alexey Marchenko (shoulder), Johan Franzen (concussion-like symptoms), Joe Vitale (concussion)
Tomas Tatar – Henrik Zetterberg – Anthony Mantha
Gustav Nyquist – Frans Nielsen – Thomas Vanek
Riley Sheahan – Dylan Larkin – Luke Glendening
Drew Miller – Andreas Athanasiou – Steve Ott
Danny DeKeyser – Xavier Ouellet
Niklas Kronwall – Brendan Smith
Jonathan Ericsson – Nick Jensen
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap] Ottawa will be without Zack Smith who received an abdominal strain during the second period against the Rangers in New York on Tuesday night. Prior to that, he was perhaps the team’s hottest player, with four goals and seven points in his last five games. The Senators will not be lost on offence, with players such as Stone, Ryan and Brassard providing solid contributions.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap] Detroit’s third goaltender Jared Coreau will be getting the start against Ottawa. Coreau, who is from the region, has spent most of his professional career in the minors with the Grand Rapid Griffins. He received a recall once Jimmy Howard got hurt and has started two games, including a 4-3 shootout win against the Florida Panthers. He made 31 saves that game for his first NHL victory. The Red Wings will trust him once again to find a win.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap] Erik Karlsson is continuing his growth into not only a great player, but a good leader and captain as well. Trying to fit the shoes of Alfredsson is no small task, but the latter has taught Karlsson much, especially about things off the ice. There will be no Senator like Alfredsson for a long time to come, but Karlsson is coming into his own as the new face of the franchise.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap] Special teams could be a difference in this game. Although both teams are equal on the penalty kill at 81.5%, the Red Wings are last in the league on the power-play, scoring at only 12.5% whereas Ottawa is scoring at a respectable 17%. The Senators may not receive too many chances, however, as the Red Wings are 10th in the league in the least amount of times shorthanded.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]5)[/miptheme_dropcap] Karlsson isn’t the only Swede in this game that looked up to Alfredsson. Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg played with Alfredsson in Detroit for a year as well as on the International scene. Zetterberg knows all about Alfie as a player, categorizing him in the “Big Four” Swedish hockey players alongside Nick Lidstrom, Mats Sundin and Peter Forsberg.
It will be a game that is as important in the standings as it will be special and memorable for the Senators and the Red Wings. Although the teams are at polar opposites of each other in the Atlantic Division standings, the Senators only have a four-point cushion while the Red Wings are six points out. A win from either team could either make the playoff race a lot more interesting, or it could spread these two teams out even further.