It’s Daniel Alfredsson night in Ottawa. After spending 17 years in Ottawa and one with the Red Wings, Alfredsson will have his No.11 retired in Ottawa tonight. The Swedish centre had 426 goals and 682 assists (1108 points) in 1178 career games with the Senators. The Red Wings did not record the win during the 1997 Stanley Cup celebration game on Tuesday, so we’ll see how they do on Alfie Night tonight.
December has been a difficult month for the Red Wings, who are 4-6-2 (10 of a possible 24 points) while averaging just 2.42 goals for and 3.42 goals against per game. Over that 12 game span, the Red Wings’ power play is 2-for-39 (5.1%), which for no surprise is dead last in the NHL. Second worse is Nashville at 9.7 percent, which goes to show just how awful the Red Wings have been.
Tonight will be the second of four meetings between the Red Wings and Senators. Detroit won the first meeting 5-1, in what started a six-game winning streak—maybe tonight is the start of better things again? Tonight will be the final dress rehearsal before they head outdoors to take on the Maple Leafs in the Centennial Classic in Toronto on New Year’s Day.
Let’s take a look at both squads.
THE RED WINGS
The Red Wings didn’t make many changes to their lines and pairings that were constantly shuffled against the Sabres on Tuesday. Based on Wednesday’s practice, Nick Jensen will remain in the lineup, but the demotions have started with both Brian Lashoff and Tyler Bertuzzi being sent back to Grand Rapids (AHL). We’ll continue to see this as the Red Wings’ regulars start getting healthy.
It was an all-veteran scoresheet on Tuesday with Henrik Zetterberg,Thomas Vanek and Drew Miller (yes, for real) scoring the goals for Detroit. The goal was Miller’s fourth goal of the season, which gives him as many as Gustav Nyquist and Justin Abdelkader and more than Riley Sheahan, who is still sitting with a donut. While it was ice to see some of the older players get on the board, the Red Wings still need more out of their young players. Nyquist continues to be a driving force of goals, but can’t seem to score himself.
After scoring a hat trick against the Ducks, Tomas Tatar has been held off of the scoresheet for three straight games and found himself on the fourth line for parts of Tuesday, but expect him to start with Zetterberg and Anthony Mantha tonight. Brendan Smith’s return to the lineup was positive and he should continue to improve as he gets back into game shape.
The Senators will be without Zack Smith, who has spent the majority of the last month playing in the top-6. With Smith out, Casey Bailey has been recalled from Binghamton (AHL) and will draw into the lineup and Curtis Lazar will move up to the second line.
To no one’s surprise, the Senators are being led by Erik Karlsson, who is tied for 13th in the NHL in points with 32 (7G / 25A)—which is second among all defenseman. Over the years Mike Hoffman-Kyle Turris-Mark Stone has been the Senators’ top-line, this year they’ve been separated and are currently playing on three different lines. Those three are the top-3 leading goal scorers and are the only three with double-digit goals. Turris is leading the was with 12 and both Hoffman and Stone sit at 10.
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Petr Mrazek struggled on Tuesday, so Jared Coreau was in the starter’s crease on Wednesday, which suggests that he will start in Ottawa. Coreau stopped 31 of 34 shots in the Red Wings’ shootout win in Florida last Friday. It was Coreau’s first career NHL win and was a good enough outing for him to potentially start carving into Mrazek’s starts, especially when Mrazek is struggling to the degree that he is right now.
With Craig Anderson not with the team due to personal reasons and Andrew Hammond out with an injury, it will almost certainly by Mike Condon for the Senators. The 26-year-old has gone 6-3-2 with a 2.52 GAA and .909 SV% in December and is 4-1-2 with a 1.82 GAA and .937 SV% at the Canadian Tire Centre.
THE LAST TIME…
WHERE TO WATCH
Puck drop is at 8:00 p.m. ET at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario. You can watch the game on Fox Sports Detroit in the USA or on TSN5 in Canada. If you can’t watch the game you can listen to it on 97.1 FM The Ticket.
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