7:30p ET, Joe Loius Arena
TV: Fox Sports Detroit
Radio: 97.1 The Ticket
Sens Blog: Silver Seven
My goodness has this been an annoyingly bad stretch of hockey. The month of March has been stupid with the Red Wings going a fantastic 5-8-1. Let's just say I'm glad the calendar turns to April tomorrow.
But there's still a game tonight. One more for the month of March. And it's the Ottawa Senators coming to town. A Senators team that seemingly won a billion games-in-a-row before crashing back down to Earth recently. Andrew Hammond was finally solved by the Rangers last week (although The Hamburglar was kind of battling an injury or so). That was followed up by back-to-back losses to the Maple Leafs and Panthers. So the Sens will be just as desperate for a win tonight as the Wings. Ottawa is now 3 points back of the Bruins for the final Wild Card spot. If they lose in regulation tonight... their season just might be over.
The Wings at this point still have a 98.5% chance of making the playoffs and an 88% chance of finishing 3rd in the Atlantic. While the Red Wings play on the ice might not make us feel very confident about anything, those numbers are at least a little reassuring that this team isn't going to miss the playoffs unless they completely shit the bed (knock on wood).
Doom and gloom aside, there's a chance both Riley Sheahan and Erik Cole return to the lineup tonight. That would be huge boost to the team. We won't know for sure until after their morning skate and who knows what the lines will be. I could see Mike Babcock putting Cole back with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader and moving Gustav Nyqvist down with Sheahan and Teemu Pulkkinen. I could also see him just putting Cole and Sheahan together on the 3rd line with Pulkkinen. Who the hell knows at the moment. We'll update the expected lineup when the news comes out. UPDATE: Sheahan in, Cole out.
The Expected Lineups (Subject to Change)
|Gustav Nyquist||Henrik Zetterberg||Justin Abdelkader|
|Darren Helm||Pavel Datsyuk||Tomas Tatar|
|Tomas Jurco||Riley Sheahan||Teemu Pulkkinen|
|Drew Miller||Luke Glendening||Joakim Andersson|
|Niklas Kronwall||Jonathan Ericsson|
|Kyle Quincey||Danny DeKeyser|
|Brendan Smith||Marek Zidlicky|
Scratches: Daniel Cleary, Stephen Weiss & Jakub Kindl
Injuries: Erik Cole (upper body) & Johan Franzen (concussion)
|Clarke MacArthur||Kyle Turris||Mark Stone|
|Zack Smith||Mika Zibanejad||Bobby Ryan|
|Mike Hoffman||David Legwand||Alex Chiasson|
|Erik Condra||J-G Pageau||Curtis Lazar|
|Marc Methot||Erik Karlsson|
|Patrick Wiercioch||Cody Ceci|
|Mark Borowiecki||Eric Gryba|
|SENATORS||THE MATCH-UP||RED WINGS|
|37-26-12 (86 pts; 3rd in East WC)||Record||40-23-12 (92 pts; 3rd in Atlantic)|
|2.84 (9th in NHL)||Goals Per Game||2.89 (7th in NHL)|
|2.63 (17th)||Goals Against Per Game||2.63 (18th)|
|16.6% (23rd)||Power Play %||24.3% (2nd)|
|82.0% (11th)||Penalty Kill %||80.6% (20th)|
|Mike Hoffman (26 goals)||Goal Leader||Tomas Tatar (28 goals)|
|Erik Karlsson (61 points)||Points Leader||Henrik Zetterberg (61 points)|
- The Red Wings are 20-11-1-0 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time in the regular season against the current version of the Ottawa Senators.
- Last 10 Games: Ottawa 7-2-1, Detroit 3-6-1
- Howard is 5-3-0 with a 3.15 GAA and .897 SV% all-time against the Sens. Not the most encouraging numbers.