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WGD: Game 19: Red Wings vs. Senators

As we near the 20 game mark of the season, the Red Wings are playing .500 hockey. I don’t think anybody was expecting that after the first seven games, but the Hockey Gods have a funny way of playing with fate.

Tonight, the Wings look to extend their four game winning streak to five as they visit the Ottawa Ubers Senators, who are off to a much better start to this season than was expected of them. Only a single point behind the Red Wings in the standings, the Sens are 7-8-3 with 17 points. Their strong start has since slowed as the cracks in this team’s depth and talent have started to show. Let’s dive in.

THE RED WINGS

Detroit Red Wings lines via DailyFaceoff

Prior to today’s morning skate, there was no indication that there would be any changes to Jeff Blashill’s lines. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, as they say, and the lines are certainly clicking right now.

Players to watch: Michael Rasmussen, Dennis Cholowski, Andreas Athanasiou. All three of these players have been coming into their own and it’s so much fun to watch.

Jonathan Ericsson, Thomas Vanek, and Jacob De La Rose are all still out with injury and there is no immediately timetable for their return.

THE SENATORS

Ottawa Senators lines via DailyFaceoff

The names on this roster are so underwhelming that it becomes immediately obvious this team was overperforming in the start to their season. Thomas Chabot, the team’s young star defenseman is leading the entire team with 22 points. Surprise rookie producer Maxime Lajoie has slowed his offense immensely and Dylan DeMelo is a fine middle-pair defenseman that came back in the Erik Karlsson trade, but he is far from being a game breaker on the blue line.

Offensively, Mark Stone and Matt Duchene are this forwards corps’ top producers. Stone just cracked 20 points and Duchene is right on the cusp with 19. They are supported with secondary scoring from Chris Tierney (also part of the Karlsson return) and Ryan Dzingel.

Brady Tkachuk is the team’s 2018 first round pick. He is very young and thereforeprone to the mistakes that all rookies make, but  he has very high ceilings and should be fun to watch play.

BETWEEN THE PIPES

Jimmy Howard vs Craig Anderson

Expect both teams veteran starting goaltenders to be between the pipes tonight in Ottawa. Howard has been sensational in the Wings last ten games and the real reason behind their latest stretch of wins. He’s rocking a .920 save percentage right now, which is slightly higher than his career average.

Anderson has been less impressive this year. After a lackluster season last year where he put up a sub-.900 save percentage, Anderson has bounced back slightly. He’s got a .905 save percentage this year and a 3.70 goals against average. He is a decent starting goalie who has the disadvantage of playing behind Ottawa’s defense.

HOW TO WATCH

Puck drop is 7:30 P.M. ET tonight and you’ll be able to catch the game, as always, on Fox Sports Detroit or TSN5 if you’re tuning in from the Great White North.

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