The three weeks since the All-Star game have been a rollercoaster for the Red Wings. It started with two ugly losses down in Florida, followed by winning four out of five at home and now back-to-back ugly losses to start a four-game road trip.
I’ve said many times this year that I am not that scared of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the playoffs, but maybe I should change my tune after being drummed by them for a second time this season. Thankfully, we’re in Ottawa tonight to take on a Senators team that we’ve played well against this season. This is the fifth an final meeting of the year and Detroit comes in at 3-1 having averaged 3.25 goals per game in the first four meetings. Let’s break this down!
THE RED WINGS
Head coach Jeff Blashill held a team meeting after Thursday’s loss in Pittsburgh and told the media that https://twitter.com/AnsarKhanMLive/status/700760825649352704. I’ll have any lineup changes after the Red Wings’ morning skate. everyone who was available for Thursday’s game is available tonight and that he was contemplating lineup changes
Oddly enough, since everyone’s favourite scape goat (mine included) Jonathan Ericsson got hurt, the Red Wings have given up 5.00 goals per game. Neither Ericsson nor Niklas Kronwall are expected to return to the lineup on Saturday night.
The Senators held an optional practice on Friday, so there are their lines from Thursday’s win over the Hurricanes. Ottawa has won two in a row, but they are 4-5-0 in nine games since the All-Star break.
Erik Karlsson and Mark Stone have been leading the way but their other offensive studs like Bobby Ryan, Kyle Turris and Mika Zibanejad have struggled. Ryan has just three points (2G / 1A) in his last nine, Zibanjad has four (1G / 3A) over that span and Turris has not picked up a point since returning to the lineup on February 6th.
The last time these two squads met it was Dion Phaneuf’s Senators debut. He has picked up three assists in five games, but has an ugly -4.52 relative Corsi rating (via war-on-ice.com) since being acquired from Toronto.
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Blashill confirmed on Friday that Petr Mrazek will be back in goal tonight. Mrazek has allowed a combined 10 goals on 44 shots (.773 SV%) in his last two starts, but tonight’s game offers a nice opportunity for him to bounce back. Ottawa is a bit of a homecoming for Mrazek, who spent three seasons with the Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League before joining the Red Wings organization. In two starts against the Senators this season, the 24-year-old has gone 2-0-0 with a 2.00 GAA and .932 SV%.
The Senators did not announce a starting goalie, but it will likely be Craig Anderson, who has won each of his last two starts while stopping 68 of 71 shots (.956 SV%). Anderson has played .500 hockey since the break, but he has struggled against the Red Wings this season—he has started three of the four previous games, going 0-2-1 with a 3.68 GAA and .882 SV%. However, it can’t be ignored that the 34-year-old has played well on home ice this season, posting a 15-6-3 record in 24 starts at the Canadian Tire Centre.
IN THE LAST MEETING…
WHERE TO WATCH
Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m. ET at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario. The game will be televised locally on Fox Sports Detroit. Can’t watch it? It will also be aired on 97.1 FM The Ticket.
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