Morning Skate: Senators at Red Wings Preview

Two of these players are currently Red Wings. - Gregory Shamus

Game 11

7:30p ET, Joe Louis Arena

Detroit, MI

TV: Fox Sports Detroit, TSN

Radio: 97.1 The Ticket

Senators Blog: Sliver Seven

The Wings get ready to take on the Ottawa Senators tonight for the first time since January 7, 2011. The last time we played the Senators we beat them 5-3 with goals from 5 different players(Bertuzzi, Lidstrom, Emmerton, Hudler, White), and only 1 of those is still currently playing with the Wings. How strange does that feel? Thanks to realignment, the Wings are now division rivals (hey, we're rivals with everyone, right?) with the Senators and will play them 3 more times this season.

Niklas Kronwall was cleared to play and as long as nothing pops up between now and the game, he'll be back in the lineup. Jonathan Ericsson however, will be out for 2-3 weeks with a shoulder injury, so again I say, thank you Danny DeKeyser for being ours. The Double Deke will most likely be Kronwall's partner and continue playing on the top pair. With Kronwall making his return the Wings sent Xavier Ouellet back to Grand Rapids. Tomas Tatar will remain in the lineup (yeah!) while Mikael Samuelsson sits in the Sammy Shithouse (Yeah!).

This Wings lineup, missing the full top defensive pairing played admirable against the Sharks on Monday, and that might be the happiest and most excited I've ever been about a loss. The Senators aren't nearly as good a team as the Sharks, but they'll have a little extra motivation to play hard tonight. Something about some guy who used to play for them but now plays for us. I don't remember the details, and I can't seem to find any articles about it online; oh well, probably not that significant anyway.

The Senators have allowed the most shots/game in the NHL with an average of 39.4, so hopefully the Wings can keep a majority of the shots on goal in the Ottawa end and reduce some of Jimmy Howard's work load. Paul McLean said yesterday that he won't announce who his starting goaltender will be, so we'll have to wait and see if Craig Anderson or Robin Lehner get the start. The Senators also recalled Mika Zibanejad from their AHL team yesterday.

The Expected Lineup

Forwards

Henrik Zetterberg Pavel Datsyuk Justin Abdelkader
Todd Bertuzzi Johan Franzen Daniel Alfredsson
Daniel Cleary Stephen Weiss Tomas Tatar
Drew Miller Joakim Andersson Jordin Tootoo

Defensemen

Niklas Kronwall Danny DeKeyser
Kyle Quincey Jakub Kindl
Brendan Smith Brian Lashoff

Goaltenders

Jimmy Howard (starting)
Jonas Gustavsson

Scratches: Mikael Samuelsson

Injured: Jonathan Ericsson (Shoulder) 1-2 weeks

LTIR: Darren Helm (the other groin), Patrick Eaves (knee and ankle)

SENATORS THE MATCH-UP RED WINGS
3-3-2 (8 pts;6th in Atlantic) Record 6-3-1 (13 pts;2nd in Atlantic)
2.62 (17th in NHL) Goals Per Game 2.40 (21st in NHL)
2.88 (19th) Goals Against Per Game 2.30 (9th)
12.5% (24th) Power Play % 20.0% (14th)
84.1% (9th) Penalty Kill % 84.2% (8th)
Jason Spezza (5 Goals) Goal Leader Henrik Zetterberg (6 goals)
Jason Spezza (8 Points) Points Leader Datsyuk & Zetterberg (11)

Opponent Outlook

Player to Fear: Jason Spezza has been the Senators biggest offensive threat, but I just have this foreboding feeling that Bobby Ryan would end up being the player to crash this party. Ryan has 7 points in 8 games and after 6 years with the Ducks, he's had more experience with the Wings than most of the other Senators players.

X-Factor: Let's go with Erik Karlsson. He's a very offensive defenseman (and I don't just mean his pedo stache) and if he decides to have a stellar night, the added scoring threat from the back end could be a challenge.

Familar Faces: Patrick Eaves won't be in the lineup tonight, but he was drafted by the Senators in the 1st round in 2003 and played 164 games for them. I think that's about it... Oh wait, just a minor note here, something about their former Captain and 17 year veteran. I really do feel kind of bad for all the Senators fans who love Alfredsson, and if it were Nick Lidstrom going to another team after 17 years, I don't even know what I'd do. However I'm already overloaded with articles, tweets, quotes, and whatnot about the situation. There's also Paul "The Walrus" MacLean, who was an assistant coach to Mike Babcock in Anaheim, and came to Detroit with Babs. MacLean was hired as the head coach of the Senators in 2011.

Thumbs Up (One Thing I Like About Ottawa): They have this cool statue outside the National Gallery of Canada. I also do like Erik Karlsson as a player, because he's pretty darn good.

Thumbs Down (One Thing I Don't Like About Ottawa): Knowing that everything that remotely relates to these two team is going to be talked about, amplified, and brought back around to Alfredsson. I know it's unavoidable, but it's going to get tiring really quickly. I feel bad for Alfredsson, because I'm sure leaving Ottawa wasn't an easy thing for him to do and he'd much rather just play hockey instead of everyone constantly asking him about it.

Bullets of Knowledge

  • The Red Wings are 16-8-1 all time against the Senators.
  • Johan Franzen's last point was his 311th, and he passed Mickey Redmond for 27th in franchise history in points.
  • Pavel Datsyuk (260) is only 4 goals behind Nick Lidstrom for 10th place in franchise history.
  • Home or away, it doesn't matter. The Wings home record against the Senators is 8-4-0 and their away record is 8-4-1.

Prediction: Wings win 3-2, Jimmy Howard is your player of the game, and Daniel Alfredsson does not score a goal.

NOTE: The WiiM prediction contest is back. Two of our WiiM faithful are undertaking the task of keeping track of all the predictions and you can click on the link above to read all the details. How will it work? Just leave your predictions in the comments of the morning skates before the game starts. Tell us what you think the final score will be, which team you think will win, and who you think the POTG (Player of the game) will be. For example: 4-2 Red Wings, Henrik Zetterberg POTG.


Let's Go Red Wings.
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